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Heine's Critical Secularism

Heine's Critical Secularism 150 boundary 2 / Summer 2004 challenge of modernity rather than simply as the solution. Liberating, yet, at the same time, profoundly challenging, secularism is for Heine a constitutive moment in the experience of modernity. As a result, modernity emerges in Heine’s work as a project deeply steeped in the problems of secularization. But Heine’s project sets itself apart from other discourses of secularism. Against the impasse of the alternative of either forsaking all religious intentions for a modern atheism or invoking some religious authenticity that would acknowledge secularization simply as validation of its own deeper truth, he takes a different approach. Born and raised as a member of the generation of the grandchildren of Moses Mendelssohn, the great champion of German Jewish emancipation, Heine responds to the predicament of the precarious legal, social, political, and cultural status of German Jews with a keen sense of the problem of secularization in modern society. From the point of view of Heine and his Jewish contemporaries, secularization never would nor could present an unproblematic final answer to theology’s long anachronistic hold. In their eyes, even the most advanced forms of secularism at hand betrayed too much of a Christian particularism http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png boundary 2: an international journal of literature and culture Duke University Press

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2004 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0190-3659
eISSN
1527-2141
DOI
10.1215/01903659-31-2-149
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

150 boundary 2 / Summer 2004 challenge of modernity rather than simply as the solution. Liberating, yet, at the same time, profoundly challenging, secularism is for Heine a constitutive moment in the experience of modernity. As a result, modernity emerges in Heine’s work as a project deeply steeped in the problems of secularization. But Heine’s project sets itself apart from other discourses of secularism. Against the impasse of the alternative of either forsaking all religious intentions for a modern atheism or invoking some religious authenticity that would acknowledge secularization simply as validation of its own deeper truth, he takes a different approach. Born and raised as a member of the generation of the grandchildren of Moses Mendelssohn, the great champion of German Jewish emancipation, Heine responds to the predicament of the precarious legal, social, political, and cultural status of German Jews with a keen sense of the problem of secularization in modern society. From the point of view of Heine and his Jewish contemporaries, secularization never would nor could present an unproblematic final answer to theology’s long anachronistic hold. In their eyes, even the most advanced forms of secularism at hand betrayed too much of a Christian particularism

Journal

boundary 2: an international journal of literature and cultureDuke University Press

Published: Jun 1, 2004

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