Hermann Cohen

Writings on Neo-Kantianism and Jewish Philosophy

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Editors: Samuel Moyn and Robert S. Schine

A fresh collection of writings by Hermann Cohen that sheds light on an often overlooked scholar.

Hermann Cohen (1842–1918) was among the most accomplished Jewish philosophers of modern times—if not the single most significant. But his work has not yet received the attention it deserves. This newly translated collection of his writings—most of which are appearing in English for the first time—illuminates his achievements for student readers and rectifies lapses in his intellectual reception by prior generations. It presents chapters from Cohen’s Ethics of Pure Will, selected essays and lectures, conflicting interpretations of Cohen by Franz Rosenzweig and Alexander Altmann, and finally the eulogy to Cohen delivered at graveside by Ernst Cassirer. Containing full annotations and selections that concentrate both on the philosophical core of Cohen’s writings and the politics of interpretation of his work at the time of his death and after, this anthology brings to light Cohen’s central accomplishments.




About the Editors

Samuel Moyn is the Henry R. Luce Professor of Jurisprudence at Yale Law School and professor of history at Yale University. He is the author of numerous books, including Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World and A Holocaust Controversy: The Treblinka Affair in Postwar France.

Robert S. Schine is the Curt C. and Else Silberman Professor of Jewish Studies at Middlebury College. He is the author most recently of Hermann Cohen: “Spinoza on State and Religion, Judaism and Christianity,” an annotated translation, with introduction, of Cohen’s 1915 essay.


  • “This new collection is a great gift for our time. Hermann Cohen was Germany’s great philosopher of Judaism and champion of Kantian ethics at the turn of the 20th century. He drew powerful affinities between Kant’s moral philosophy and Jewish ethics, emphasizing how both point towards perpetual peace. In our divided world today, struggling for a universal ethics, Cohen’s writings offer powerful reasons to hope and strive for a world of peace and wellbeing.” - Jeffrey Sachs, University Professor and Director of the Center for Sustainable Development, Columbia University

  • "This superb anthology of texts by and about Hermann Cohen shows how confronting his work is indispensable to understanding still-vital controversies about the heritage of Enlightenment philosophy, the compatibility of Judaism and modernity and the challenge it faced with the rise of existentialism and the 'new thinking.' This landmark collection, brilliantly introduced and curated by Samuel Moyn and Robert Schine, is more than a sweeping reappraisal of a thinker who both revived Kant's project and modernized Jewish philosophy. It is a timely invitation--even a compelling summons--to pursue a path all but forgotten and yet of paramount importance for our own times." - Vivian Liska, Director of the Institute of Jewish Studies, University of Antwerp

  • "It is difficult to overstate the importance of the task undertaken by Moyn and Schine in this book. For the first time ever, key chapters in Ethik des reinen Willens are available in English. This volume also collects and translates major essays by Ernst Cassirer, Franz Rosenzweig, and Alexander Altmann that have done so much to shape Cohen’s reception in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. With expert introductions and annotations, this book will be a landmark event in discussions of Cohen in the English-speaking world." - Robert Erlewine, Isaac Funk Professor, Illinois Wesleyan University

  • "This is the most comprehensive collection of Hermann Cohen’s writings currently available in English. Cohen’s Introduction to the Ethics of Pure Will is a gem in its own right. It brilliantly testifies to the enduring importance of Cohen’s ethics in its relation to religion and to law. The volume also features articles of Cohen on Kant and on the significance of Judaism for the progress of Religion. Cohen’s legacy is attested by Ernst Cassirer in the first place, but also by Franz Rosenzweig, whose famous Introduction to Cohen’s Jewish Writings appears here in full: a translation was long overdue. The volume will undoubtedly become an essential resource for those interested in 19th and 20th c. philosophy – and in modern Jewish thought." - Myriam Bienenstock, Université de Tours

Belonging and Betrayal 

How Jews Made the Art World Modern


Author: Charles Dellheim

Since the late-1990s, the fate of Nazi stolen art has become a cause célèbre. In Belonging and Betrayal, Charles Dellheim turns this story on its head by revealing how certain Jewish outsiders came to acquire so many old and modern masterpieces in the first place – and what this reveals about Jews, art and modernity. This book tells the epic story of the fortunes and misfortunes of a small number of eminent art dealers and collectors who, against the odds, played a pivotal role in the migration of works of art from Europe to the United States and in the triumph of modern art. Beautifully written and compellingly told, this story takes place on both sides of the Atlantic from the late nineteenth century to the present. It is set against the backdrop of critical transformations, among them the gradual opening of European high culture, the ambiguities of Jewish acculturation, the massive sell-off of aristocratic family art collections, the emergence of different schools of modern art, the cultural impact of World War I, and the Nazi war against the Jews.

About the Author

Charles Dellheim is professor of history at Boston University. He is the author of The Face of the Past: The Preservation of the Medieval Inheritance in Victorian England and The Disenchanted Isle: Mrs. Thatcher’s Capitalist Revolution.


"This is a magisterial book. Wide-ranging yet closely focused, detailed yet suspenseful, it should be required reading for all who make art or collect it. Gracefully written and sumptuously illustrated throughout, Belonging and Betrayal is an important—even indispensable—contribution to the field." - Nicholas Delbanco, author of Why Writing Matters

"Dellheim weaves together, eloquently and passionately, the interaction between Picasso, Matisse, Braque, Soutine, Schiele, and so many others with their Jewish dealers, among them the Gimpels, Duveens, Kahnweilers, and Rosenbergs. A major contribution to understanding a profound Jewish goal to belong and succeed, only to be betrayed by willful acts by Nazis and their collaborators, this impressive book will engage you, surprise you, anger you, and above all, enrich you." - Richard I. Cohen, author of Jewish Icons: Art and Society in Modern Europe

"More than Jewish history and art history, this book captures the promise of the twentieth century, and chronicles, in Dellheim's phrasing, the great 'betrayal.' Dellheim is a master story-teller as he interweaves the histories of an extraordinary cast, including the Wildensteins, the Duveens, the Rothschilds, and an array of artists, from Pissarro to Modigliani. Belonging and Betrayal is a tour de force." - Jonathan Petropoulos, author of Göring’s Man in Paris: The Story of a Nazi Art Plunderer and His World

"Brilliantly evocative and deeply researched, Charles Dellheim's Belonging and Betrayal is a superb addition to the ongoing discussion on art ownership, theft, and restoration." - David H. Lynn, editor emeritus, The Kenyon Review

"A riveting history of the role of dealers and collectors in the circulation of art before and after the Holocaust through a Jewish lens. This account of their rise, betrayal, and dispossession forms the back story of postwar provenance research and restitution. Essential reading." - Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Ronald S. Lauder Chief Curator, Polin Museum

Transmitting Jewish History

In Conversation with Sylvie Anne Goldberg


Authors: Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi and Sylvie Anne Goldberg, Foreword by Alexander Kaye and translation by Benjamin Ivry

Scholar Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi (1932–2009) possessed a stunning range of erudition in all eras of Jewish history, as well as in world history, classical literature, and European culture. What Yerushalmi also brought to his craft was a brilliant literary style, honed by his own voracious reading from early youth and his formative undergraduate studies. This series of interviews paints a revealing portrait of this giant of history, bringing together exceptional material on Yerushalmi’s personal and intellectual journeys that not only attests to the astonishing breakthrough of the issues of Jewish history into “general history,” but also offers profound insight into being Jewish in today's world.

About the Authors

Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi (1932–2009) was one of the most eminent Jewish historians of the twentieth century, author of, among other works, Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory and The Faith of Fallen Jews: Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi and the Writing of Jewish History.

Sylvie Anne Goldberg is a professor at the Center for Historical Research, L'École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, where she heads the Jewish Studies Program. She is the author of several books, including Crossing the Jabbok: Illness and Death in Ashkenazi Judaism in Sixteenth- through Nineteenth-Century Prague and Clepsydra: Essay on the Plurality of Time in Judaism.

Benjamin Ivry is the author of biographies of Francis Poulenc, Arthur Rimbaud, and Maurice Ravel, as well as a poetry collection, Paradise for the Portuguese Queen. He has also translated books from the French by André Gide, Jules Verne, Witold Gombrowicz, and Balthus, among others, and has written extensively about culture for numerous media.