Thinking Jewish Modernity

Thinking Jewish Modernity will offer original contemporary portraits of 45 thinkers who found, formed, and transformed the twentieth- and twenty-first century culture. These portraits, that will be presented as a book,  will understand intellectual, political and cultural biographies in the context of the lifeworlds of their protagonists –  in other words, in terms of the mutualities of texts and contexts, space and time, thoughts and actions, inheritance and transformation. These spectrums and tensions, like that of the relation itself between Jewish and non-Jewish worlds, are often contested and indeed often violent, but they remain porous and fluid as well. Its semantics includes traditions in transitions as well as new dimensions and innovative perspectives in the cultures of our world. The thinkers to be engaged and the scholars who will write about them share worldwide these convictions and thus a working and understanding of modernity as an objective as well as subjective condition – a condition that includes the impacts on both world and self, in which the knowledge and transformation of either or both remain essential but elusive human necessities.

The list of the thinkers who had become part of the Jewish / non-Jewish culture in our world includes names like Shmuel Yosef Agnon, Nathan Alterman, Hannah Arendt, Saul Bellow, David Ben Gurion, Walter Benjamin, Martin Buber, Judith Butler, René Cassin, Paul Celan, Coen Brothers, Simon Dubnow, Émile Durkheim, Sigmund Freud, Max Horkheimer, Franz Kafka, Horace Kallen, Bernard Lazare, Yeshaiahu Leibowitz, Primo Levi, Emmanuel Levinas, Rosa Luxemburg, Gustav Mahler, Peretz Davidovich Markish, Arnaldo Dante Momigliano, Yosef Ovadia, Dalia Rabikowich, Franz Rosenzweig, Walter Rathenau, Philip Roth, Mark Rothko, Gerschom Scholem, Arnold Schönberg, Leo Strauss, Helen Suzman, Yoel Teitelbaum, Aby Warburg, Simone Weil, and others.  

The University of basel serves as the leading house in this project and Jacques Picard as its managing director. Thinking Jewish Modernity will be published 2015 by Princeton University Press.

The Editors are

Prof. Dr. Jacques Picard, University of Basel, Switzerland, Professor of Modern Jewish History and Cultures, former Dean of Research of the Faculty of Humanities, and a member of the Board of the Center of Competence Cultural Topographies of the University of Basel.

Prof. Dr. Jacques Revel, Professor and Director emeritus of the École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, France

Prof. Dr. Michael Steinberg, Brown University, USA, Professor of Musicology, and Director of Cogut Center of Humanities

Prof. Dr. Idith Zertal, Professor emerita of Modern History, Interdisciplinarity Center, Herzlia, Israel; Former guest reserach fellow at the University of Basel