Jews and Cosmopolitanism: An Arc of European Thought
Židé a kosmopolitanismus: Oblouk evropského myšlení
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Isaac Deutscher, raised in his youth to be a Talmudic scholar, instead became a communist. In 1958, he addressed the World Jewish Congress on the topic of “The Non-Jewish Jew.” There was a Jewish tradition – Deutscher began, citing Spinoza and Marx, Freud and Luxemburg and Trotsky – of breaking with Jewish tradition. Jews had always been restless and rootless, always lived on the borders of various heritages, languages, and cultures, at once in and apart from society. Victimized by religious intolerance and nationalist sentiments, Jews longed for a universalist Weltanschauung. It is true that “non-Jewish Jews” played a disproportionate role in the history of European Marxism. Yet Jews’ contributions to Marxism might be understood in a larger context: namely, that “non-Jewish Jews” have played a disproportionate role in the intellectual history of modern Europe much more broadly. This essay is an attempt to place the relationship between Jews and Marxism in a larger context – less the larger sociological context than the larger intellectual context of European modernity.
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