In the final part of his seminal work The Star of Redemption, Franz Rosenzweig describes the eternal life of the Jewish people as marked by a radical withdrawal from history and politics.
Rather than progressing through history toward redemption, Rosenzweig argues that the Jewish people live already “in anticipation of eternity”. But what does it mean to anticipate eternity, and is this posture of anticipation, as many readers have supposed, simply “ahistorical”? Some of the most profound Jewish thinkers of the 20th Century – Franz Rosenzweig, Gershom Scholem, Walter Benjamin, Franz Kafka, Hannah Arendt, and Abraham Heschel – have rejected this conclusion, while posing anew the question of the relation of the Jewish people to historical time. In their original reflections on this question – which generated illuminating (and often heated) exchanges with one another, these thinkers probe the meaning of chosenness, messianism, sacred history, the Sabbath, and political and cultural Zionism.