Dynamic Repetition: History and Messianism in Modern Jewish Thought

Author: Gilad Sharvit

yerushalmi front cover

Dynamic Repetition proposes a new understanding of modern Jewish theories of messianism across the disciplines of history, theology, and philosophy. The book explores how ideals of repetition, return, and the cyclical occasioned a new messianic impulse across an important swath of late nineteenth and early twentieth century German Jewish thought. To grasp the complexities of Jewish messianism in modernity, the manuscript focuses on diverse notions of “dynamic repetition” in the works Franz Rosenzweig, Walter Benjamin, Franz Kafka, and Sigmund Freud, and their interrelations with basic trajectories of twentieth-century philosophy and critical thought.



“The slightest gap separates the repetition of the same and repetition with a difference, but through that opening messianic redemption may somehow find its way. Or so suggested four of the most powerful Jewish thinkers of the 20th century, Rosenzweig, Kafka, Benjamin, and Freud, according to Gilad Sharvit’s arresting new reading of their legacy. Analytically rigorous, boldly imaginative, and lucidly written, Dynamic Repetition demonstrates how that most improbable of hopes is itself a revenant that refuses to die.” - Martin Jay, author of Genesis and Validity: The Theory and Practice of Intellectual History

“Many have pondered on the peculiar form of messianism characteristic of the early twentieth-century German Jewish thought, but in this highly competitive field Gilad Sharvit’s elegant hypothesis is a winner…Pace the popular opinion which perceives the messianism of the Weimar era German Jewry as radical and uncompromising, Sharvit proposes a more moderate view which could be summed up by the talmudic equivalent of Soren Kierkegaard, Rabbi Tarphon: ‘You are not required to complete the work, but neither you are free to desist from it.’” - Agata Bielik-Robson, University of Nottingham

About the Author

Gilad Sharvit is an assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Towson University. A scholar of modern Jewish thought, Sharvit's interests lie in Jewish philosophy, German-Jewish literature and culture, German and continental philosophy, psychoanalysis and critical theory. He completed his PhD studies at Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the Philosophy Department and later accepted a Diller Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Center for Jewish Studies at University of California, Berkeley (2014-16) and was a Townsend Fellow at the Townsend Center for the Humanities at University of California, Berkeley (2016-17). In 2017-18, Professor Sharvit was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Koebner Minerva Center for German History (Hebrew University) and at Tel Aviv University (Minerva Center for German History and School of Philosophy).

Professor Sharvit is also the author of "Therapeutics and Salvation: Freud and Schelling on Freedom" (Magnes Press) (in Hebrew) and co-editor and contributing author of the volumes “Freud and Monotheism: The Violent Origins of Religion” with Karen Feldman (Fordham University Press, 2018) and “Canonization and Alterity: Heresy in Jewish History, Thought, and Literature” with Willi Goetschel (De Gruyter, 2020).

Canine Pioneer: The Extraordinary Life of Rudolphina Menzel

Editor: Susan Martha Kahn

An insightful look at the life and legacy of a pioneer cynologist between Europe and Israel

Canine Pioneer cover

Rudolphina Menzel (1891–1973), was a Viennese-born, Jewish chemist whose pioneering research on canine psychology, development, and behavior fundamentally shaped the ways dogs came to be trained, cared for, and understood. Between the two world wars, Menzel was known throughout Europe as one of the foremost breeders and trainers of police dogs and served as a sought-aer consultant at Kummersdorf, the German military dog training institute in Berlin. She was also a fervent Zionist who was responsible for inventing the canine infrastructure in what came to be the State of Israel and for training thousands of dogs to protect Jewish lives and property in pre-state Palestine. Teaching Jews to like dogs and training dogs to serve Jews became Menzel’s unique kind of Zionist mission. Detailed and insightful, Canine Pioneer brings to light an important piece of history.

About the Editor

Susan Martha Kahn is the associate director at the Julis-Rabinowitz Program on Jewish and Israeli Law at Harvard Law School. She has published in science studies, animal studies, and Jewish studies, and her book Reproducing Jews: A Cultural Account of Assisted Conception in Israel won a National Jewish Book Award, as well as the Eileen Basker Prize for Outstanding Research in Gender and Health from the American Anthropological Association.