Holocaust Theologians, Judaism
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First of all, how do you spell the biggest concentration camp in the Holocaust?
List all the theologians you need to know and describe in a couple of words each's argument. (10)
- Wiesel: angry, remember, human solidarity, education
- Rubenstein: death of God of history
- Cohen: human tremendum, divine filament
- Berkovits: hester panim, hidden face of God
- Maybaum: churbans
- Fackenheim: tikkum olam (repair together), 614th mitzvot
- Dan Cohn-Sherbok: hope in life after death.
- Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks: just another calamity, remember without hate, will never understand H.
- Wasserman: punishment from God for assimilation and Zionism
- Maza: punishment from God, for straying away from Torah.
Outline briefly how Elie Wiesel's response to the Holocaust transformed over time.
- At first, he was angry with God and protests to God.
- Dan Cohn-Sherbok also says he was confused.
- However, Cohn-Sherbok fails to mention Wiesel's more mature response, which is...
- Important to remember the past
- Human Solidarity - humans must transform divine injustice, we have the power to change things on Earth.
- Importance on education - give humans this power by education.
Give 2 quotes to show Elie Wiesel's anger and confusion - his initial response.
- "I will never forget the flames that consumed my faith forever". [From 'Night']
- "If I told you I believe in God, I will be lying. If I told you I don't believe in God, I will be lying."
Give the Wiesel quote about remembering.
To Wiesel, remembering is to "wrench the victims from oblivion".
Give 2 quotes on Wiesel's idea of human solidarity.
- "Transform divine injustice into human justice and compassion".
- "Let us be angry together".
Give 3 facts about Wiesel's response by promoting education.
- Chair of the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C
- President of US Holocaust Memorial Council
- Talks and books
What are the main points that Rubenstein makes?
- Death of God of history - impossibel to continue to believe in omnipotent and beneficent God of history, unless we see Histler as instruments of God's will.
- But he still says Jewish laws are still important for building community and share crisis through traditions.
- Reject view Israel/Jews were chosen
- Reject view that Israel was tested like Job.
Give Rubenstein's 2 quotes.
- "Each of must accept that the universe is unconcerned with our lives, prayers and hopes."
- "God is the ultimate nothing"
What are the main points that Cohen makes?
- Mindful of Rudolf Otto's characterisation of God's holiness as 'mysterium tremendum'.
- Describes Holocaust as 'human tremendum' - an unfathomable mystery, almost beyond human understanding.
- God is still existent, but it does not interfere with human life/history - in this way, slight problem for classical Jews.
- God is the 'divine filament' within human history.
What's Cohen's quote about God not interfering?
"God's role is not to act as a direct agent in human affairs, but as a teacher".
What are Berkovits' main points? Also one quote.
- Wrote "Faith after the Holocaust".
- Hester panim - hidden face of God, to allow human free will.
- God has an incomprehensible plan?
- "In His hiddenness He was actually present".
- [A traditional view, he does not seem to challenge the traditional view - quite weak and unclear].
What are Maybaum's main points?
- Holocaust is the third churban - creative destructions - in Jewish history. There are periods of massive destruction but from each comes some type of positive consequence, almost a necessity.
- 586BCE - oral laws written down
- 70CE - synagogues created
- Holocaust - to eliminate medieval times and modernise. (also brought State of Israel).
- [Another traditional view]
What are Emil Fackenheim's main points?
- traditional explanations of evil and suffering do not apply to the Holocaust, it is too enormous a tragedy
- Tikkum Olam - humanity's shared responsibility to repair and transform.
- 614th mitzvot (got a lot of criticism for that), that said not to give Histler a postumous victory
- To do this: 1. Survive, 2. Remember, 3. Do not despair of God, 4. Do not despair of the world
Quote Fackenheim's 614th mitzvot.
- "The authentic Jew of today is forbidden to hand Hitler yet another posthumous vitory".
- [Importance to survive, remember, and to not despair of God or the world.]
What are Dan-Cohn Sherbok's main points?
- Encourages all Jews to consider hope in life after death.
- Says how secular Zionists saw return to Israel as a substitute for a Messiah.
What article did Sacks write? What are the main points of Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks?
- Wrote "holocaust survivors can remember without hating".
- Just another calamity.
- Similar to Berkovits - we will never understand Holocaust.
- Must remember - similar to Wiesel.
- Do not hate
- Mentions Job - like Berkovits.
- [Very much pragmatic and forward-looking response - can draw similarities with Wiesel.]
What are the 2 quotes from Jonathan Sacks?
- Remember: "Remember, for without memory a civilisation travels blind".
- Do not hate: "hate destroys the hated, but it destroys the hater even more".
What are the main points Wasserman makes?
- Holocaust is a punishment for...
- Sin of assimilation
- Sin of Zionism (ask)
Main points of Maza.
- Holocaust punishment for..
- Jews turning away from Torah-centred life.
Which theologians do you think are quite-forward looking/pragmatic and in particular, talk about remembering?
- Wiesel - must remember, human solidarity
- Fackenheim - 614th mitzvot - remember, survive, don't despair. Tikkum Olam - repair together
- Jonathan Sacks - remember without hate
Which theologians believe Holocaust to have been a punishment?
- Wasserman - for assimilation & Zionism
- Maza - from straying away from Torah-centred life
Which theologians to a degree lose hope in God and place more importance on humans?
- Rubenstein - death of God of history
- Wiesel - angry with God, humans can reverse divine injustice
Which theologians emphasise the mystery of the Holocaust and the incomprehensible nature of God?
- Cohen - human tremendum, God as "divine filament"
- Berkovits - Hester Panim - hidden face of God
- Johnathan Sacks - can never understand
Which theologians believe there was some kind of purpose to the Holocaust?
- Maybaum - churbans - creative destruction
- Wasserman and Maza - punishment
- (Possibly Berkovits - Hester Panim, some incomprehensible plan on behalf of God?)
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