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Living law : Jewish political theology from Hermann Cohen to Hannah Arendt
This book discusses the political theology developed by German Jewish philosophy in the 20th century on the basis of its original reconstruction of the teachings of Jewish prophetology. In the shadow of the modern experiences with anti-Semitism, the rise of Zionism, and the return of charismatic authority in mass societies, the discourse of Jewish political theology advances the radical hypothesis that the messianic idea of God’s Kingdom correlates with a post-sovereignty, anarchist political condition of radical non-domination. However, this messianic form of democracy, far from being antinomian, was combined with the ideal of cosmopolitan constitutionalism, itself based on the identity of divine law and natural law. This book examines the paradoxical unity of anarchy and rule of law in the democratic political theology developed by Hermann Cohen, Franz Rosenzweig, Gershom Scholem, Leo Strauss, and Hannah Arendt. Critical of the Christian theological underpinnings of modern “representative” political institutions, this group of highly original thinkers took up the banner of Philo’s project to unify Greek philosophy with Judaism, so influential for medieval Islamic and Jewish philosophy, and rejected the separation between faith and reason, biblical revelation and pagan philosophy. The Jewish political theology they developed stands for the idea that human redemption is inseparable from the redemption of nature.