A Symposium in Honor of George L. Mosse
Edited By Klaus L. Berghahn
German-Jewish Culture at the Beginning of the 20th Century 109
On the Correspondence between Franz Rosenzweig and Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy Stephane Moses The Hebrew University THE CORRESPONDENCE between Franz Rosenzweig and Eugen Rosenstock doubtless represents one of the most deeply moving episodes in the Jewish- Christian dialogue of the 20th century. This exchange of letters took place between May and December of 1916 while each of them served in the ranks of the German army, Rosenzweig in the Balkans and Rosenstock at the front at the Somme. What characterizes this dialogue is its complete sincerity, an undeviating freedom in the exchange of ideas, and its relentless rigour in the search for truth. It leads us far beyond the simplistic professions of good will or the expression of common convictions to which Jewish-Christian exchanges so often amount. In order to understand all that is involved in this correspondence, we must recall first of all the circumstances that induced it. Rosenzweig met Rosenstock at a congress of young German historians held in Baden-Baden in 1912. They joined up again in 1913 in Leipzig, where Rosenstock was teaching constitutional history. Originally Jewish, but converted to Protestantism, he had become a fervent and militant Christian. While Rosenzweig at that time still shared the historical relativism of his teacher Friedrich Meinecke, Rosenstock had made belief in the absoluteness of the Revelation the center of his life. In the course of a long night-time conversation, Eugen Rosenstock succeeded in shaking Rosenzweig's relativism, less by the force of his arguments than by the living testimony of his faith....
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