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Orientalism and the Figure of the Jew$
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Jeffrey S. Librett

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823262915

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823262915.001.0001

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Ordering Chaos:

Ordering Chaos:

The Orient in J. G. Herder’s Teleological Historicism

(p.29) Chapter 1 Ordering Chaos
Orientalism and the Figure of the Jew

Jeffrey S. Librett

Fordham University Press

This chapter provides a reading of Herder’s Orientalism as it appears in Ideas for a Philosophy of History of Humanity (1784-1791). His way of broaching historicism through the rejection of Spinoza’s critique of teleology is paradigm-setting for much of nineteenth century historicist Orientalism. The chapter traces Herder’s conceptualization of the Oriental cultures in general, as well as his discussion of the (ancient) Hebrews, Egyptians, Chinese, and Indians specifically. It shows in detailed interpretations how Herder both invokes Christian supersessionist anti-Judaism and transforms it into a Western supersessionist Orientalism, thus setting the pattern for much of the thinking that will follow in the coming century.

Keywords:   Herder, teleology, theodicy, historicism, Jews, Egyptians, Chinese, Indians, letter and spirit

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