Rhetorics of Religion in German, 1900–1950

Organized by Leora Batnitzky, Michael Jennings, and Sarah Pourciau
April 1–3, 2011
Friday – Sunday
Princeton University

This conference examines the role played by religious discourse in German culture in the early twentieth century. This period saw the emergence of a body of religious thought – and reflection on the role of religion in culture – that rivals that of any other period in the Judaeo-Christian tradition. Scholars in such diverse fields as intellectual and cultural history, German studies, history of philosophy, and religious studies have in recent years made remarkable advances in our understanding of specific topics and thinkers within this enormously important field, but there have been few attempts to bring together scholars not just across disciplines, but across religions and denominations in order to discuss larger, synthetic issues.

Rhetorics of Religion in Germany, 1900–1950

An international interdisciplinary conference organized by Leora Batnitzky, Michael Jennings, and Sarah Pourciau.

Princeton University

March 31-April 2, 2011

Thursday, March 31

2 PM Welcome: Leora Batnitzky, Michael Jennings, Sarah Pourciau

2:30–5:00 PM Session One

Philosophical Theology

The Infinitessimal as Theological Principle in Cohen, Rosenzweig, and Barth

Reenacting the Philosophical Past: Rosenzweig, Hegel, and Neighbor Love

Heidegger with and Beyond Paul and Augustine

5:30–7:00 PM Plenary Talk I

Inverse versus Dialectical Theology (Adorno, Horkheimer, Barth)

Friday, April 1

9:30 AM–12 PM Session Two

The Inexpressible in Modernity

Mysticism and Kulturkritik

Mysticism contra Religion

A Language of the Border: Scholem’s Notion of Lament

1:00–3:30 PM Session Three

Towards a Theological Politics

Destruction, Consolation, and Rebellion in Paul and Jeremiah” (Zweig, Werfel, Buber, Taubes)

Religion as Social Poliics in Hermann Cohen

Rhetoric, Religion, and Political Theology “As If” in Barth

4:00–6:30 PM Section Four

Religion and the State

State and Religion: Orthodox Judaism and Neo-Kantianism in Isaac Breuer

Nation and Essentialism in Jewish Thought

Calvinism and Democratic Legitimacy in Carl J. Friedrich

8:00 PM Plenary Talk II

Jürgen Habermas: German Religious Discourse in Retrospect

Saturday, April 2

9:30 AM–12 PM Session Five

Religion and Aesthetics

The Aesthetics of Religion in Cohen and Simmel

Religion and Filmic Narration

Martyrs and Monarchs in Benjamin’s Trauerspiel Book

1:30–4:00 PM Session Six

The Uses of Rhetoric

Leo Strauss and Religious Rhetoric

Presenting the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain in the Third Reich

Ethical Monotheism: Politics, and Theology of a Protestant Concept in 20th Century German-Jewish Discourse”