The Dangers of Christianity and the Dangers of Judaism


« Franz Rosenzweig »

Born in 1886 into an assimilated Jewish family, Franz Rosenzweig decided to convert to Christianity in the 1910s, after numerous discussions with his cousins, Hans and Rudolf Ehrenberg, who had already converted, and with his friend Eugen Rosenstock, also a converted Jew. But he renounced the conversion after attending the Yom Kippur service in a Berlin synagogue in 1913.

Shortly afterwards, he wrote in the trenches of the First World War his masterpiece, The Star of Redemption, which offers a kind of parallelism between Judaism and Christianity.

Parallels that do not meet, except perhaps at the end of Time.

I find Rosenzweig’s essay truly significant for a double distance, for a constitutive split, the outcome of which is difficult to see, unless there is a total change of paradigm – which would perhaps be the real issue, in some future.

Rosenzweig asserts that Christianity faces three « dangers » that it « will never overcome ». These « dangers » are essentially of a conceptual nature: « the spiritualization of the concept of God, the apotheosis granted to the concept of man, the panthetization of the concept of the world ». i

The Christian concept of God, the Christian concept of man, the Christian concept of the world, are wrong and dangerous, according to Rosenzweig, because they imply an attack on the absolute transcendence of God, to which, by contrast, Judaism is supposed to be fundamentally attached.

« Let the Spirit be the guide in all things, and not God; let the Son of Man, and not God, be the Truth; let God one day be in all things, and not above all; these are the dangers. »ii

Rosenzweig cannot accept that the absolutely transcendent God of Judaism can be represented by His « Spirit », even though this Spirit is « holy ».

Why not? Is God not His own Spirit?

No. God’s transcendence is probably so absolute that the use of the word « spirit » is still too anthropomorphic in this context. From the point of view of Judaism, as interpreted by Rosenzweig, to use the word « spirit » as an hypostasis of God is an attack on its absolute transcendence.

But, is not God called in the Torah the « God of spirits » (Num 16:22), because He is the Creator? Could the spirit, as created by God, then be a « substance » which God and man would then have in common? No. This is not acceptable. The very principle of the absolute transcendence of God excludes any idea of a community of substance between the divine and the human, even that of the « spirit ».

Nor can Rosenzweig accept that the absolutely transcendent God of Judaism could be represented here below by a « Son », or horresco referens, could lower Himself to humiliation by consenting to a human « incarnation », to whom He would further delegate, ipso facto, the care and privilege of revealing His Truth to men.

Finally, and a fortiori, Rosenzweig obviously cannot accept that the absolutely transcendent God can condescend to any immanence whatsoever, and in particular by coming into the « world » to dwell « in all ».

Judaism will not compromise.

The absolute transcendence of God, of His revelation, and of Redemption, are infinitely beyond the spirit, infinitely beyond the human, infinitely beyond the world.

Rosenzweig’s attack on Christianity focuses on its supposed « concepts ».

Concepts are positive attempts by the human mind to capture the essence of something.

The dogma of the absolute transcendence of God excludes from the outset any attempt whatsoever to « conceptualize » it, whether through names, attributes or manifestations.

The only acceptable conceptualization is the concept of the impossibility of any conceptualization. The only possible theology is an absolutely negative theology, rigorously and infinitely apophatic.

But then what about the revelation of His Name, made to Moses by God Himself?

What about the theophanies found in the Torah?

What about God’s dialogues with the Prophets?

Or in another vein, what about the granting of a Covenant between God and his People?

What about thewandering of the Shekhina in this world, and her « suffering »?

Or, on yet another level, how to understand the idea that heaven and earth are a « creation » of God, with all that this entails in terms of responsibility for the content of their future and the implications of their inherent potentialities?

Are these not notable exceptions, through word or spirit, to thevery idea of God’s absolute, radicaltranscendence? Are they not in fact so many links, so many consensual interactions between God Himself and all that is so infinitely below Him, – all that is so infinitely nothing?

These questions are not dealt with by Rosenzweig. What is important to him is to reproach Christianity for « exteriorizing itself in the Whole, » for « dispersing its rays » in the march through time, with the spiritualization [of the concept of God], the divinization [of the concept of man] and the mondanization [of transcendence].

But Rosenzweig’s reproaches do not stop there. For good measure, he also criticizes the « dangers » peculiar to Judaism.

Where Christianity sins by « dispersing », by « externalizing » the idea of God, Judaism sins on the contrary by « shrinking », by confinement in « the narrow », by refuge in « a narrow home »iii. To sum up: « The Creator has shrunk to the creator of the Jewish world, Revelation has only taken place in the Jewish heart.» iv

Franz Rosenzweig analyzes the « Jewish dangers » in this manner :

« Thus, in the depths of this Jewish feeling, any split, anything that encompasses Jewish life, has become very narrow and simple. Too simple and too narrow, that is what should be said, and in this narrowness, as many dangers should be fanned as in Christian dilatation. Here it is the concept of God that was in danger: in our midst, it is His World and His Man who seem to be in danger (…) Judaism, which is consumed within, runs the risk of gathering its heat in its own bosom, far from the pagan reality of the world. In Christianity, the dangers were named: spiritualization of God, humanization of God, mondanization of God; here [in Judaism] they are called denial of the world, contempt for the world, suffocation of the world.

Denial of the world, when the Jew, in the proximity of his God, anticipated the Redemption for his own benefit, forgetting that God was Creator and Redeemer, that, as Creator, He conserved the whole world and that in the Revelation He ultimately turned His face to mankind at large.

Contempt for the world, when the Jew felt himself to be a remnant, and thus to be the true man, originally created in the image of God and living in the expectation of the end within this original purity, thus withdrawing from man: yet it was precisely with his hardness, forgetting God, that the Revelation of God’s love had come about, and it was this man who now had to exercise this love in the unlimited work of Redemption.

Choking of the world, finally, when the Jew, in possession of the Law revealed to him and becoming flesh and blood in his spirit, now had the nerve to regulate the being there at every renewed moment and the silent growth of things, even to pretend to judge them.

These three dangers are all necessary consequences of the interiority that turned away from the world, just as the dangers of Christianity were due to the exteriorization of the self turned towards the world. » v

Not being able to resolve to elect a single champion, Rosenzweig concludes that Jews and Christians are in fact working at the same task, and that God cannot deprive Himself of either of them: « He has bound them together in the closest reciprocity. To us [Jews] He has given eternal life by lighting in our hearts the fire of the Star of His truth. He has placed Christians on the eternal path by making them follow the rays of the Star of His truth throughout the centuries to the eternal end.»vi

The life, the truth, the way. The Anointed One from Nazareth, the Christian Messiah, had already designated himself by these three words, identifying them with his own Person.

Shrinkage, narrowness, suffocation.

Dispersion, expansion, paganization.

Let the millennia flow, let the eons bloom.

What will the world be like in three hundred billion years? Will it be Jewish? Christian? Buddhist? Nihilist? Gnostic? Or will the world be All Other?

Will we one day see the birth of a non-Galilean Messiah or a non-Anointed Anointed One, far away in galaxies at the unimagined borders of the known universes, revealing in clear language a meta-Law as luminous as a thousand billion nebulae assembled in one single point?

Or is it the very message of the Scriptures that, by some miracle, will be repeated, word for word, letter for letter, breath for breath, in all the multiverse, crossing without damage the attraction and translation of multiple black holes and vertiginous wormholes?

The path before us is infinitely, obviously, open.

We only know that at the very end there will be life – not death.

What kind of life? We don’t know.

We know that with life, there will also be truth.

Truth and life are indissolubly linked, as are transcendence and immanence.

« What is truth? » asked Pilatus once, famously.

One could also ask : « What is life? »

Since transcendence is so infinitely above the human mind, how can one dare to ask even these kinds of questions?

That’s exactly the point.

Daring to ask these questions is already, in a way, beginning to answer them.

I have no doubt that in six hundred million years, or thirty-three billion years, some truth will still be there to be grasp, – if there are still, of course, eyes to see, or ears to hear.

_________________

iFranz Rosenzweig. The Star of Redemption. Alexandre Derczanski and Jean-Louis Schlegel, Seuil , 1882, p.474.

iiFranz Rosenzweig. The Star of Redemption. Alexandre Derczanski and Jean-Louis Schlegel, Seuil , 1882, p.474.

iiiFranz Rosenzweig. The Star of Redemption. Alexandre Derczanski and Jean-Louis Schlegel, Seuil , 1882, p.478.

ivFranz Rosenzweig. The Star of Redemption. Alexandre Derczanski and Jean-Louis Schlegel, Seuil , 1882, p.476.

vFranz Rosenzweig. The Star of Redemption. Alexandre Derczanski and Jean-Louis Schlegel, Seuil , 1882, p.479-480.

viFranz Rosenzweig. The Star of Redemption. Alexandre Derczanski and Jean-Louis Schlegel, Seuil, 1882, p. 490.

Une réflexion sur “The Dangers of Christianity and the Dangers of Judaism

  1. The Jewish debate which pitted Greek rationalism against פרדס common law logic.

    The assimilation to ancient Greek philosophy, commonly known as: rationalism. This debate witnessed the victory of the assimilated rational school over traditional פרדס common law school. The latter system of logic, had defined how to correctly learn T’NaCH, Talmud, and Midrashim, prior to the outbreak of the Rambam Civil War. Billed by later generations as the controversy between Faith vs Reason. This twisted categorization of Common Law vs Roman Statute Law, its complete and total ignorance, effectively blew out the “Chanukkah lights” miracle, across the spectrum of g’lut Jewish communities.

    The Chanukkah Civil War\Revolt, occurred during middle period of the 2nd Republic. Assimilated Tzeddukim רשעים, embraced Greek logic philosophy as true. In 167 BCE, these assimilated traitors from the House of Aaron, attempted to turn Jerusalem into a Greek polis city-state. The Book of the Maccabees compiles the history, which records the defeat of the Tzeddukim rebels.

    The rediscovery of ancient Greek manuscripts, concealed by Church censorship for almost a millennium, a direct consequence of the Muslim invasion of Spain. The rediscovery of forgotten ancient Greek logic, released the bottled genie out of its prison. Once again assimilated Jewish traitors kissed and worshipped the dead idol Gods worshipped by the ancient Greeks and Romans. The Rambam’s organization of his halachot into religious subject matter. That Code of statute law, based itself upon ancient Greek rationalism, rather than פרדס Oral Torah middot of logic.

    The latter system of common law, its logic works by and through making precedent comparisons of סוגיות within the T’NaCH to other similar סוגיות. Based upon a shared common denominator of identical middot. This system of common law logic, likewise compares Mishnaic Case/law rulings to other Gemarah halachot, based upon the identicle system of logic. This unique sh’itta/system, it defines the style expressed through Talmudic common law legalism.

    The later commentaries made upon the Yitzchak al-Fasi, the Rif, his halachic code, they compare to the later halachic commentary written by the Rosh. All the later super-commentaries on the B’hag, Rif, Rosh and Rambam codes, they all err, and learn the halachah contained within the B’hag/Rif/Rosh common law codes as statute law. Knowledge of learning common law halachic precedents, by which to understand the language of the Mishnah, all together ceased.

    The public book burnings of the Talmud witnessed the near total collapse of Torah common law scholarship. Assimilated Greek rationalism replaced the common law logic system of “Faith”, which learns the Talmud strictly as common law. Only the Rosh, who witnessed the Paris 1242 burnings, this one last Great Posek held firm to the middot logic system of faith, and rejected the rationalism by which the Rambam code redefined the sh’itta of how to learn the Talmud, which replaced פרדס logic with Greek rationalism.

    The Rosh code, like the B’hag and Rif codes interpreted Gemarah halachot as precedents by which to learn the k’vanna of Mishnaic common law justice. The Rambam, ben Asher, and Karo codes, together with all the later super-commentaries on these codes, they fail to affix Gemarah halachot as precedents to understand the k’vanna of the Mishnah.

    Ben Asher, the son of the Rosh, based his Tur codification upon Greek rationalism rather than the kabbalah taught by his father, which understood Rabbi Akiva’s פרדס common law direction, of how to learn the Written Torah by means of משנה תורה common law precedents. The Karo statute law halachic codes, the Beit Yosef and Shulkah Aruch, they too broke faith with the logic of common law learning. These latter day counterfeit codes of statute religious halachic law, they sealed the cursed fate of g’lut Jewry; thrown off the path walk which Moshe the prophet commands the generations of Israel. His common law Torah compilation: the 4 Books of the Written Torah and 1 Book Oral Torah.

    J’aime

Votre commentaire

Choisissez une méthode de connexion pour poster votre commentaire:

Logo WordPress.com

Vous commentez à l’aide de votre compte WordPress.com. Déconnexion /  Changer )

Image Twitter

Vous commentez à l’aide de votre compte Twitter. Déconnexion /  Changer )

Photo Facebook

Vous commentez à l’aide de votre compte Facebook. Déconnexion /  Changer )

Connexion à %s

Ce site utilise Akismet pour réduire les indésirables. En savoir plus sur la façon dont les données de vos commentaires sont traitées.