Wednesday, October 26, 2011

More on Bellow's Jewishness Thoughts

Continuing -

In Germany the revival of the epical theme in Wagnerian and later in Hitlerian form may well have been a bid to supersede the Jewish epic. Even the plan to destroy the Jews was epical in scale. The building up of Israel was a further chapter in the epic of the Jews...

...think of what it means that your Jewish birth may condemn you to death...

- - - - -

...I spoke earlier of the nihilistic abysses of the modern world and suggested that Jews, through the horror of Jewish suffering, the enormity of the Final Solution, might stand apart from the nihilism of the West. If they wished to separate themselves from this modern and European nihilism they might legitimately exercise the option...Israel is narrowly watched by the West, and the Western press and public try hard to find evidences of Jewish evil and perhaps its aim is to implicate the Jews in its nihilism.

...I am a Jew and as such I am made to understand by Jewish history that I cannot absolutely count on enlightened laws and institutions to protect me and my descendants. I observe the Jewish present closely and actively remember the Jewish past—not only its often heroic suffering but also the high significance of the meaning of Jewish history. I think about it. I read. I try to understand what it may signify to be a Jew who cannot live by the rules of conduct set down over centuries and millennia...

...I never wished to avoid being recognized as a Jew in order to escape discrimination. I never cared enough, never granted anyone much power to discriminate against me—and now it is too late to bother about such matters. My view, a view widely held, is that there is no solution to the Jewish problem. Viciousness against Jews will never end in any foreseeable future; nor will the consciousness of being a Jew vanish, since the self-respect of Jews demands that they be faithful to their history and their culture, which is not so much a culture in the modern sense as it is a millennial loyalty to revelation and redemption.
Saul Bellow

And also found there:

The Jews live a fantastic historical paradox: we are the spiritual aborigines of the modern world.

Karl Shapiro
- In Defense of Ignorance


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