Typology and the Holocaust: Erich Auerbach and Judeo-Christian Europe

Journal Article (Journal Article)

In response to Nazi exclusion of the Jews from German society on racial grounds, Erich Auerbach (1892-1957), a secular Jewish intellectual inspired by cultural Protestantism and Catholicism, formed a vision of a cosmopolitan Judeo-Christian civilization that reintegrated the Jews as biblical founders and cultural mediators. But the integration expunged any mark of traditional Jewishness. Focusing on Christian figurative thinking (typology), Auerbach viewed the binding of Isaac through the crucifixion, and contemporary Jews as civilization's (unwilling and undeserving) martyrs. In the aftermath of the Holocaust, his cosmopolitanism reached a crisis, reflected in his postwar vision of Western decline. The progressive mandarin who had begun his intellectual life elevating Dante's care for everyday life and sympathizing with French realist social critique ended endorsing Hugh of St. Victor's alienation from reality and Pascal's acquiescence in totalitarian rule. © 2012 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hacohen, MH

Published Date

  • July 17, 2012

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 3 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 600 - 645

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2077-1444

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.3390/rel3030600

Citation Source

  • Scopus