Hardback
November 20, 2017
9780253029706
English
308
© 2016 The Estate of Sigmar Polke, Cologne / ARS, New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
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v2.1 Reference

Transfinite Life

Oskar Goldberg and the Vitalist Imagination

Oskar Goldberg was an important and controversial figure in Weimar Germany. He challenged the rising racial conception of the state and claimed that the Jewish people were on a metaphysical mission to defeat race-based statism. He attracted the attention of his contemporaries—Walter Benjamin, Gershom Scholem, Thomas Mann, and Carl Schmitt, among others—with the argument that ancient Israel's sacrificial rituals held the key to overcoming the tyranny of technology in the modern world. Bruce Rosenstock offers a sympathetic but critical philosophical portrait of Goldberg and puts him into conversation with Jewish and political figures that circulated in his cultural environment. Rosenstock reveals Goldberg as a deeply imaginative and broad-minded thinker who drew on biology, mathematics, Kabbalah, and his interests in ghost photography to account for the origin of the earth. Caricatured as a Jewish proto-fascist in his day, Goldberg's views of the tyranny of technology, biopolitics, and the "new vitalism" remain relevant to this day.

About the Author

Bruce Rosenstock is Associate Professor of Religion at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of Philosophy and the Jewish Question: Mendelssohn, Rosenzweig, and Beyond. He is also the creator and manager of the Folk Literature of the Sephardic Jews multimedia digital library, sephardifolklit.illinois.edu.

Reviews

"Bruce Rosenstock's Transfinite Life offers a meticulous and thought-provoking description of Oskar Goldberg's philosophy."—German Studies Review

"The only fully developed analysis of Oskar Goldberg in English. It is also the most philosophically, scientifically, and mathematically informed inquiry into his work. Bruce Rosenstock has done a great service to the scholarly world."—Peter Fenves, author of The Messianic Reduction: Walter Benjamin and the Shape of Time
Indiana University Press
New Jewish Philosophy and Thought

9780253029706 : transfinite-life-rosenstock
Hardback
308 Pages
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