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date: 15 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter focuses on the thoughts of the early twentieth-century German Jewish thinkers Hermann Cohen, Franz Rosenzweig, and Martin Buber. These three German scholars, writing in the decades surrounding World War I, were both attracted to and repulsed by modernity. On the one hand, the modern drive toward nationalism inspired their commitment to Jews and Judaism, and so each plumbed the Jewish textual tradition to ground their ethical theories. Yet the destructiveness caused by self-centeredness led each man to promote an ethic that attended to others. The chapter explores this turn to others and otherness—a turn that oriented much subsequent Jewish ethical theorizing.

Keywords: German Jews, Hermann Cohen, Franz Rosenzweig, Martin Buber, modernity, Judaism, ethical theories, others, nationalism

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