Against the Apocalypse: Responses to Catastrophe in Modern by David Roskies

By David Roskies

This article records a nearly unknown bankruptcy within the historical past of the refusal of Jews through the a long time to give up. the writer employs wide-ranging scholarship to the Holocaust and the thoughts linked to it, in confirmation of either continuities and violent endings.

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Extra resources for Against the Apocalypse: Responses to Catastrophe in Modern Jewish Culture (Judaic Traditions in Literature, Music, and Art)

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Angry as God might be, He never withdrew from the covenant. Destruction or exile spelled not abandonment by God but punishment, and if the people returned to the ways of the Lord, He would return them not to Egypt but back to the Promised Land: "Then the Lord your God will turn your captivity and take you back in love. 2009 10:23:53] page_22 < previous page page_22 next page > Page 22 God has scattered you" (Deut. 30:3). Restoration, not blind repetition, was the proper direction for history to take, a linear route that ended in Zion and that depended entirely on man's contractual agreement with God.

Neither corpus was particularly fixated on catastrophe. The halachic mind, or any legal mind for that matter, harmonizes texts with realities in order to yield a normative decision, and ultimately in the geonic period, a code of behavior. In the process of linking up with Scripture to serve God's will in the concrete everyday, categorical precedents and major decisions are of far greater import than singular occurrences. In this context, the historical anecdote enjoys no independent status whatsoever.

In contrast to Lamentations, which was relentless in its causality and almost documentary in style, the prophetic consolation delivered in response to the fall of Solomon's temple was extravagant in its use of archetypes. Ezekiel and Second Isaiah were the two main prophets of the exile, and each created a unique blend of history and myth to instill hope among the exiled community. Ezekiel's visionary scenario was spectacular. He prophesied the war of Gog and Magog, the embodiments of pure evil, whose sole function was to attack Israel, suffer defeat at its hands, and be devoured in a great sacrificial bloodbath.

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