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Buber – Rosenzweig on The Eternal

December 12, 2013

Just a few brief citations from Franz Rosenzweig regarding Mendelssohn’s choice of Der Ewige (The Eternal), first from here,  page 175  1923,

Rosenzweig congratulates Mendelssohn for capturing or attempting to capture, in one phrase God’s providence, eternity, and necessary existence. Yet identifying God with eternal being can be something of an evasion. Buber translates God’s proper name as ‘He-is-there’ (Images of Good and Evil, p. 67) and Rosenzweig translates … ICH BIN DA. … The Emphasis which Rosenzweig wishes to bring out here is not on the everlasting being of God but on his eternal presentness,

and from here, page 263, 1929,

[T]his interpretation of the divine name as “The Eternal” or, alternately, as “the eternal essence” was “austere, sublime,” and “genuinely ‘numinous.'” But its origins were Hellenistic, not Jewish.  … According to Rosenzweig, this fundamentally “Hellenistic” interpretation missed Judaism’s richly personalist and this-worldly understanding of God.

(Click on the tag “Eternal” in the top right corner for the other posts in this series.)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 12, 2013 11:44 am

    But its origins were Hellenistic, not Jewish. … According to Rosenzweig, this fundamentally “Hellenistic” interpretation missed Judaism’s richly personalist and this-worldly understanding of God.

    What a fascinating claim. How does this square with the decisions of the Septuagint translators?

  2. Suzanne McCarthy permalink*
    December 12, 2013 11:58 am

    More later. Mendelssohn claims a Jewish heritage, and lines it up with Maimonides, but I don’t think B-R were that fond of Maimonides. Perhaps someone knows about this? The Septuagint translators – sometimes they used the protosemitic tetragramaton, later replaced with Kurios, but at what stage??

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