Rhetorics of Religion in German, 1900-1950 Conference

Rhetorics of Religion in Germany, 1900-1950

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

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 Inderdisciplinary Conference
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

John H. Smith (German, UC Irvine), “The Infinitessimal as Theological Principle in Cohen, Rosenzweig, and Barth”

Elias Sacks (Religion, Princeton), “Reenacting the Philosophical Past: Rosenzweig, Hegel, and Neighbor Love

Ben Morgan (German, Oxford), “Heidegger with and Beyond Paul and Augustine”

5:30-7:00 PM Plenary Talk I

Hent de Vries (Philosophy and Humanities Center, Johns Hopkins), “Inverse versus Dialectical Theology (Adorno, Horkheimer, Barth)”

Friday, April 1

9:30 AM-12 PM Session Two
The Inexpressible in Modernity

Niklaus Largier (German, Berkeley), “Mysticism and Kulturkritik”

Lisa Cerami (New York), “Mysticism contra Religion”

Ilit Ferber (Philosophy, Tel Aviv), “A Language of the Border: Scholem’s Notion of Lament”

1:00-3:30 PM Session Three
Towards a Theological Politics

Nitzan Lebovic (History, Lehigh), “Destruction, Consolation, and Rebellion in Paul and Jeremiah” (Zweig, Werfel, Buber, Taubes)

Michael McGillen (German, Princeton), “Religion as Social Poliics in Hermann Cohen”

Daniel Weidner (German and Comparative Literature, Berlin and Basel) “Rhetoric, Religion, and Political Theology “As If” in Barth”

4:00-6:30 PM Section Four
Religion and the State

Paul Franks (Philosophy, Toronto), “State and Religion: Orthodox Judaism and Neo-Kantianism in Isaac Breuer”

Martina Urban (Religious Studies and Jewish Studies, Vanderbilt), “Nation and Essentialism in Jewish Thought”

Udi Greenberg (History, Dartmouth), “Calvinism and Democratic Legitimacy in Carl J. Friedrich”

8:00 PM Plenary Talk II

Peter Gordon (History, Harvard), “Jürgen Habermas: German Religious Discourse in Retrospect”

Saturday, April 2

9:30 AM-12 PM Session Five
Religion and Aesthetics

Asher Biemann (Religious Studies and Jewish Studies, Virginia), “The Aesthetics of Religion in Cohen and Simmel”

Sabine Mueller (German, Oxford), “Religion and Filmic Narration”

Anthony Phelan (German, Oxford), “Martyrs and Monarchs in Benjamin’s Trauerspiel Book”

1:30-4:00 PM Session Six
The Uses of Rhetoric

Thomas Meyer (Judaic Studies, Zürich), “Leo Strauss and Religious Rhetoric”

Eugene Sheppard (Judaic Studies, Brandeis), “Presenting the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain in the Third Reich”

Christian Wiese (Jewish Thought, Frankfurt), “Ethical Monotheism: Politics, and Theology of a Protestant Concept in 20th Century German-Jewish Discourse”