Article by Avishag Zafrani
Carlo Ginzburg’s historical work has shed new light on the Jewish condition, making it possible to consider them in their minority, marginal dimension, alongside the witches and lepers persecuted by the Inquisition. In this interview with Avishag Zafrani, the renowned scholar discusses the subjective determinations that led him to approach the history of persecution from the point of view of the victims, and how this approach challenges the practice and position of the historian.
Vladimir Jankélévitch was born 120 years ago, in 1903. The first biography of the French philosopher, and Resistance fighter who went underground in 1941, was published this year. Avishag Zafrani examines a number of aspects of his relationship with Jewish consciousness after the Shoah, based on an interpretation of Jewish time as distinct from tragic time.
Continuation of Avishag Zafrani’s interview with the philosophers Gérard Bensussan and Ivan Segré on the political uses of the Jewish tradition within the modern revolutionary tradition. How can we think about the processes of secularization of elements of the prophetic or messianic tradition at work on the extreme left, and their participation in the ideas of emancipation and redemption of the world? Why this permanence of a theological-political impulse in the context of our European political modernity?
How can we understand the emergence of a political use of Jewish tradition within a certain radical left? Is this use paradoxical, ideologically overdetermined, or does it proceed from a real interest in certain religious sources, susceptible of reviving a revolutionary messianism? We put the question to philosophers Ivan Segré and Gérard Bensussan, who know both the Jewish tradition and that of the revolutionary left.
The exhibition conceived by curator Isabelle Cahn and designed by Joris Lipsch at the mahJ in Paris – ‘Proust du côté de la mère’ — collects the mementos of Proust’s Jewish condition. It also solicits a plastic reflection on the modern Jews’ sense of art and its history, on the museum institution itself, on the power of the image and its effect on the gaze as well as on thought — so many themes, incessantly worked on in ‘The Search for Lost Time’, on which Avishag Zafrani returns for K.
How to photograph Jewish identity? The one that has disappeared, the one that is hidden and the one that is claimed? These questions are at the heart of the exhibition of the work of the great photographer Patrick Zachmann, on show at Paris’ Musée d’Art et d’Histoire du judaïsme until the 6th of March, and reviewed here by Avishag Zafrani. It is an opportunity to travel between the silent stories of the images in search of invisible genealogies. It is also an opportunity to question the aesthetics of memory.
The concept of “metaphysical antisemitism” was first used by Bernard Lazarus – notably to explain the sophisticated antisemitism of intellectuals and philosophers – before being used by Gershom Scholem and Hans Jonas to identify Heidegger’s antisemitism. It implies the conception of an alienated reality, within which the Jew and the Jewish worldview are fundamentally at fault.
Hannah Arendt is one of the major intellectual figures of the 20th century. A volume of the prestigious ‘Cahiers de l’Herne’ devoted to Arendt has just been published in French. The volume introduces the French public to writings that had not been published in their language and invites all of us to discover new facets of Hannah Arendt, political theorist, committed thinker of her time, and Jewish intellectual. Avishag Zafrani, for K and Akadem, spoke with the philosophers Martine Leibovici and Aurore Mréjen who edited this publication. They discuss Arendt’s links with Heidegger, her reflections on political anti-Semitism, her relationship to Zionism…
Kafka’s art is accessible again. Hundreds of his drawings are now available, free, from the National Library of Israel, where the Kafka Archive–a collection of his work saved by his friend and collaborator Max Brod–remains to this day.
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Thanks to the Paris office of the Heinrich Böll Foundation for their cooperation in the design of the magazine’s website.