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From Kabbalah to Class StruggleExpressionism, Marxism, and Yiddish Literature in the Life and Work of Meir Wiener$
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Mikhail Krutikov

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780804770071

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804770071.001.0001

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Politics and Scholarship in Post-War Vienna

Politics and Scholarship in Post-War Vienna

(p.54) Two Politics and Scholarship in Post-War Vienna
From Kabbalah to Class Struggle
Stanford University Press

In 1918, while he was in Switzerland, Meir Wiener composed an essay entitled “Hass und Verachtung” (“Hatred and Contempt”) in which he revisits the problem of anti-Semitism and tackles the meaning of hatred of Jews. He argues that Christianity, acquired by Europe as part of the Roman cultural legacy, made it difficult for Europeans to assimilate the Jewish element in that religion. Drawing on the cultural Zionism of Ahad Ha'am and Martin Buber, Wiener regarded Zionism as a movement that would provide redemption to the Jewish people through their return to Zion. This chapter examines his political and scholarly ideas during the early 1920s, with an emphasis on his Zionist polemics, his interest in medieval Hebrew literature, and his philosophical views about Jewish mysticism and messianism. It also considers Wiener's anthology Die Lyrik der Kabbalah (The Poetry of the Kabbalah), his return to Vienna in 1919–1921, his gradual ideological and political drift toward Marxism, and his turn to Yiddish literature.

Keywords:   Meir Wiener, Jews, anti-Semitism, Zionism, Hebrew literature, mysticism, messianism, Kabbalah, Marxism, Yiddish literature

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