People

Prof. Benjamin Pollock

Prof. Benjamin Pollock

Director
benjamin.pollock@mail.huji.ac.il
Room 3208, Rabin Building, Mount Scopus Campus

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Prof. Benjamin Pollock is the Sol Rosenbloom Associate Professor of Jewish Philosophy at the Hebrew University, where he has taught in the Department of Jewish Thought since 2015. He became director of the Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Center in the fall of 2017. Since fall 2020 he serves also as the chair of the Department of Jewish Thought.  

Prof. Pollock received his doctorate in Jewish Thought at Hebrew University in 2006. From 2006-2015 he taught in the Department of Religious Studies and the Jewish Studies Program at Michigan State University. He has also been guest scholar and teacher at the University of Toronto, as the Ray D. Wolfe Fellow in Jewish Studies (2004-2005) and as a Halbert Exchange Scholar (2005-2006), and at the University of Michigan, as a Fellow of the Frankel Institute for Judaic Studies and as the Padnos Guest Professor of Judaic Studies (2012).

Prof. Pollock’s field of research is modern Jewish philosophy, especially in the German context, from the Enlightenment through the 20th century. His first book, Franz Rosenzweig and the Systematic Task of Philosophy (Cambridge University Press, 2009), was awarded the Salo W. Baron Prize for Outstanding First Book in Jewish Studies by the American Academy of Jewish Research, and the Jordan Schnitzer Award for Best Book in the Field of Jewish Philosophy and Jewish Thought 2009-2012, by the Association for Jewish Studies. His Franz Rosenzweig’s Conversions: World Denial and World Redemption (Indiana University Press), appeared in the summer of 2014.

Prof. Pollock is currently at work on several projects. He has published a number of articles on conceptions of theocracy in modern Jewish political philosophy which he aims to shape into book form. He is working on a study of modern Jewish philosophy of language which examines, among other themes, affinities between F. Rosenzweig’s view of language and the Anglo-American tradition of ordinary language philosophy. And Prof. Pollock has begun a long-range project that explores therapeutic elements of Jewish philosophical writings on self-formation.

 

Selected Publications

Books

- Franz Rosenzweig’s Conversions: World Denial and World Redemption (Indiana University Press, 2014).

- Franz Rosenzweig and the Systematic Task of Philosophy (Cambridge University Press, 2009).

- The Philosopher as Witness: Fackenheim and Responses to the Holocaust, editor, with Michael L. Morgan (SUNY Press, 2008).
 

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

- “The Conversation of Humanity: Franz Rosenzweig on the Secrets of Biblical Narrative”. In: Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History (forthcoming)

- “Prophecy”. In: Daniel Rynhold and Tyron Goldschmidt (eds.), Routledge Companion to Jewish Philosophy. (Routledge, forthcoming, 2023).

“‘World History in a Dictionary’: Franz Rosenzweig on Teshuva, Metanoia, and Umkehr”. In: G. Anthony Bruno and Justin Vlasits (eds.), Transformation and the HIstory of Philosophy. (Routledge, forthcoming 2022).

- “Liebet Euch Untereinander”: Else Lasker-Schüler on Antisemitism and on Divine and Human Inheritances from Fathers to Sons”. In: Yearbook for European Jewish Literature Studies 9 (forthcoming, 2022)

- “The Greatest Thing You’ll Ever Learn: Debating Spinoza over Loving God and Being Loved in Return.” In: M. Rosenthal (ed.), Spinoza and Modern Jewish Philosophy. (Palgrave MacMillan, forthcoming 2021).

- “Franz Rosenzweig” In: S. Goetz and C. Taliaferro (eds.), The Encyclopedia of the Philosophy of Religion (Wiley-Blackwell, 2021)

- “Rosenzweig on Redeemability: 100 Years of Rosenzweig’s Star of Redemption”. In: Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy 29.1 (2021).

- “‘The All and the Everyday’: Franz Rosenzweig and Ordinary Language Philosophy”. In: Iyyun: The Jerusalem Philosophical Quarterly 69 (2021): 249-279.

- “Practical Reason? Salomon Maimon and the Problem of Moral Presentation”. In: Journal for the History of Philosophy 58.4 (October, 2020): 727-754.

 - “Commentary on Fackenheim, To Mend the World”. In: Y. Kurtzer, ed., The New Jewish Canon (Academic Studies Press, 2020)

- “'The Kabbalistic Problem is not Specifically Theological': Franz Rosenzweig on Tsimtsum,” in A. Bialik-Robson and D. Weiss, eds., Tsimtsum and Modernity (De Gruyter, 2020).

-  “On God as an Object of Action: Schelling, Rosenzweig, and the Spirit of Practical Postulation,” in A. Eusterschulte and A. Kalatzis, eds., From Ionia to Jena: Franz Rosenzweig and the History of Philosophy (Berlin: Neofelis Verlag, 2020)

-  „Für alles Verantwortung übernehmen: Sprache und Normativität in Franz Rosenzweigs Denken,“ in A. Hutter and G. Sans, eds., Zeit-Sprache-Gott (Kohlhammer, 2019): 193-214.

- “Every State Becomes a Theocracy”: Hermann Cohen on the Israelites under Divine Rule,” Jewish Studies Quarterly 25, 2 (Spring, 2018): 181-199.

- “Theocracy and the Idea of God: Salomon Maimon on Judaism between True Religion and Despotism,” Philosophy, Religion, and Political Theology: Boston University Studies in Philosophy and Religion, C.A. Speight and M. Zank eds. (Springer, 2017), pp. 125-150.

 - “‘Philosophy’s Inquisitor’: Franz Rosenzweig’s Philo between Judaism, Paganism, and Christianity,” Studia Philonica Annual: Studies in Hellenistic Judaism 27 (2015).

- “The Political Perfection of Original Judaism: Pedagogical Governance and Ecclesiastical Power in Mendelssohn’s Jerusalem,” Harvard Theological Review 108, 2 (April, 2015): 167-96.

- “To Infinity and Beyond: Cohen and Rosenzweig on Comportment towards Redemption,” in M. Morgan and S. Weitzman, eds., The Messianic Idea in Judaism Revisited (Indiana University Press, 2014).

 - “On the Road to Marcionism: Franz Rosenzweig’s Early Theology,” The Jewish Quarterly Review 102, No. 2 (Spring, 2012): 224-255.

- “‘Within Earshot of the Young Hegel’: Rosenzweig’s ‘Letter to Rudi of September, 1910,’” in C. Wiese and M. Urban, eds., German-Jewish Thought Between Religion and Politics (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2012), pp. 185-207.

 - “Rosenzweig’s ‘Oldest System-Program,’” New German Critique 111 (Fall 2010).

- “Thought Going to School with Life? Fackenheim’s Last Philosophical Testament,” AJS Review 31 (March 2007), No. 1.

 - “From Nation State to World Empire: Franz Rosenzweig’s Redemptive Imperialism,” Jewish Studies Quarterly 11 (2004), No. 4.


Co-Editor

 

- Benjamin Pollock, guest editor, with Christian Wiese, Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy 29, 1 (Spring, 2021), special issue on “Franz Rosenzweig on Redeemability.”

- Benjamin Pollock, Daniel Weidner, Christian Wiese, Naharaim. Zeitschrift für deutsch-jüdische Literatur- und Kulturgeschichte 16 (forthcoming, 2022), 1–2.

- Benjamin Pollock, editor, with Daniel Weidner and Christian Wiese, Naharaim. Zeitschrift für deutschjüdische Literatur- und Kulturgeschichte 15 (2021), 1–2 (De Gruyter).

- Benjamin Pollock, editor, with Daniel Weidner and Christian Wiese, Naharaim. Zeitschrift für deutschjüdische Literatur- und Kulturgeschichte 14 (2020), 1–2 (De Gruyter). 

- Benjamin Pollock, editor, with Daniel Weidner and Christian Wiese, Naharaim. Zeitschrift für deutschjüdische Literatur- und Kulturgeschichte 13 (2019), 1–2 (De Gruyter).

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Yfaat Weiss

Prof. Yfaat Weiss

Director 2010-2017
yfaat.weiss@mail.huji.ac.il

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Prof. Yfaat Weiss teaches at the Department for the History of the Jewish People and Contemporary Jewry since 2008. She is acting as the director of the Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Center since 2010. Between 2008 and 2011 she served as head of the School of History and in 2015 as Vice Dean for Research at the Faculty of Humanities. She is also a board member of the I-Core Center "Daat Hamakom" for the Study of Cultures of Place in the Modern Jewish World.

Prof. Weiss began her studies at Hamburg University in Germany, where she specialized in German-Jewish history. In her doctoral dissertation, written at Tel Aviv University, she investigated the reciprocal relations between German Jewry and Polish Jewry following the Nazis' rise to power in Germany. In the late 1990s she taught at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, and between 2000 and 2007 served as head of the Bucerius Institute for Research of Contemporary German History and Society at Haifa University.

Alongside her work in Israel she has spent time over the past decade as a visiting scholar at the Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften in Vienna, the Simon Dubnow Institute for Jewish History and Culture at Leipzig University, the Hamburg Institute for Social Research, the Remarque Institute at NYU, the International Institute for Holocaust Research at Yad Vashem, the Social Science Research Center Berlin, and the Europe Institute at Stanford University, Institut for Human Sciences in Vienna, the department of Philosophy and Humanities at the Freie Universität Berlin, and the Historisches Kolleg in Munich.

Her research operates in three arenas: German and Central European history, Jewish history, and Israeli history. It engages questions of citizenship, migration and sovereignty, as well as cultural heritage and transfer of knowledge, in comparative and spatial perspectives. Prof. Weiss works have won her the Hanna Arendt Prize for Political Thought in 2012 and the Polonsky Prize for Creativity and Originality in the Humanistic Disciplines in 2015.

   

Selected Publications

- Ulrich Bielefeld & Yfaat Weiss (eds.), "…als Gelegenheitsgast, ohne jedes Engagement…". Jean Améry, München: Fink, 2014.

- Amir Eshel & Yfaat Weiss (eds.), Kurz hinter der Wahrheit und dicht neben der Lüge: Zum Werk Barbara Honigmanns, München: Fink, 2013.

- Mahmoud Yazbak & Yfaat Weiss, Haifa Before & After 1948. Narratives of a Mixed City, Hague: Republic of Letters, 2012.

- Yfaat Weiss, A Confiscated Memory: Wadi Salib and Haifa’s lost Heritage, New York: Colombia University Press, 2011.

- Yfaat Weiss, Lea Goldberg, Lehrjahre in Deutschland 1930-1933, Toldot – Essays zur jüdischen Geschichte und Kultur, Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2010.

- Daniel Levy & Yfaat Weiss, (eds.), Challenging Ethnic Citizenship: German and Israeli Perspectives on Immigration, New York: Berghahn, 2002.

- Yfaat Weiss, Staatsbürgerschaft und Ethnizität. Deutsche und polnische Juden am Vorabend des Holocaust, Schriftenreihe der Vierteljahreshefte für Zeitgeschichte. München: Oldenbourg, 2000.

 

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Habel

Sabrina Habel

Research Fellow 2019-20
Visiting Research Fellows 2020-21
sabrina.habel@gmx.ch

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Sabrina Habel studied philosophy, sociology and modern German literature in Tübingen (summa cum laude). She worked as a Junior assistant at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zürich (at Prof. Andreas Kilcher’s chair for Literary and Cultural Studies), as a research and teaching assistant at the German Department of the University of Zürich (Prod. Wolfram Groddeck) and as ab academic collaborator  at the “Cultural Foundations of Integration” Center of Excellence at the University of Konstanz. Her project focuses on the German and jewish playwright Carl Sternheim and his „poetics of the social“. In her free time she is an editor at the Swiss online-magazine „History of the Present“ (https://geschichtedergegenwart.ch)

Research Project

The research project investigates the comedies of the German-Jewish author Carl Sternheim (1878 -1942), in particular the comedy „Die Hose“, which lies at the center of Sternheim's work and marks the beginning of a series of sociological comedies. Sternheim's comedies about several generations of the family "Maske" reflect the social structures in the Germany of Wilhelm II and the interwar period and depict the turn of the educated middle classes to fascism. The comedies provide complex and critical readings of the political, economic and libidinal structures of German society. In Sternheim’s "poetics of the social" the antagonisms of the social are reflected in the figure of the individual - the so-called "bourgeois hero". For Sternheim, the individual is where the social (theatrically) takes place: the individual incorporates social contradictions, his identity is fragile, a question of armor, self-discipline and power. Sternheim shows the ambivalences and contradictions of his characters as reflexes of social inclusions and exclusions. His plays explore the possibilities for action and development of the bourgeois (and Jewish) individual. They question the possibility of social advancement through assimilation and education, and ask what significance the humanist educational ideal as represented in the German educational canon still has after the World War and in the face of rising fascism. Behind the emancipation of the citizen through his education Sternheim shows anti-Semitism, machistic "male fantasies", and a cold and ruthless society that deforms rather than shapes its characters. The problematization of education from a German-Jewish perspective is a fundamental aspect of Sternheim's social and individual dramaturgy. The comedies are storages of contemporary knowledge, paradigms of modern drama and radical proof of its crisis.

 

 

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Chiara Adorisio

Research Fellow 2007-9

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Chiara Adorisio was a Post Doctoral Visiting Research Fellow at the Rosenzweig Center from October 2007 to June 2009. Her research topic was "Salomon Munk, 1803-1867".

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Michal Aharony

Michal Aharony

Research Fellow 2010

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Michal Aharony was a Post Doctoral Visiting Research Fellow at the Rosenzweig Center from January to September 2010. Her research topic was titled "Total Domination: Between Conception and Experience - Rethinking the Arendtian Account through Holocaust Testimonies".

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Francesca Albertini

Research Fellow 2002-4

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Francesca Albertini was a Minerva Foundation Fellow from September 2002 to August 2004. Her research topic was "Rosenzweig and Levinas".

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Ofra Amihai

Ofra Amihay

Research Fellow 2011

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Ofra Amihay was a Visiting Doctoral Research Fellow at the Rosenzweig Center from January through June 2011. Her research project was titled "Graven Images amongst Words: Text and Image in Modern Hebrew Novels".

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Roy Amir

Dr. Roy Amir

Affiliated Post-Doctoral Fellow 2021-2023
ISF Grant:
"Theocracy and Perfectionism in Modern Jewish Philosophy"
roydamir@gmail.com

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Roy Amir is a postdoctoral fellow at the Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Research Center for German-Jewish Literature and Cultural History at the Hebrew University. His research focuses on Kantian and Neo-Kantian philosophy, specifically on Herman Cohen. Before joining the Franz Rosenzweig Center, he was a PhD fellow at the Department of Philosophy at Potsdam University. His research was supported by the Mandel School for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the Hebrew University, the Minerva Foundation and the ISF research project "Theocracy and Perfectionism in Modern Jewish Philosophy"; led by prof. Benjamin Pollock. His dissertation, completed at the Hebrew University, analyzes the notion of rationality in Cohen's System of Philosophy.

 

Postdoc Project

The notion of political theology – a kind of metaphysical-hermeneutical paradigm – plays a dominant role in current philosophical and theological discourses. In my postdoc project, I approach this paradigm from the critical point of view of one of its fiercest adversaries, Hermann Cohen's Neo-Kantian notion of rationality. The project, titled Religion, Politics, Reason and the Possibility of a Political Theology in the Philosophy of Herman Cohen, is both historical and philosophical. First, contra to a popular approach to Cohen's philosophy of religion as a source for a rational (i.e., ethical) political theology, I stress Cohen's critique of the very rationality of political theology as such, which he takes to be a form of political materialism. This materialism, for Cohen, is amoral and has devastating consequences for politics as well as for theology. I show that Cohen's critique is derived directly from his systematical grounding of rationality, specifically from the conditions of possibility of moral thinking and its actualization. Finally, based on Cohen's critique, I consider the possible political meaning of Cohen's theology and offer possible philosophical principles for a rational approach to the relation between theology and politics.

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Asaf Angermann

Research Fellow 2013

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Asaf Angermann was a research fellow at the Rosenzweig Center in 2013.

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