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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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Thresholds of History:

Thresholds of History:

India and the Limits of Europe in Hegel’s Lectures on the Philosophy of History

Chapter:
(p.129) Chapter 5 Thresholds of History
Source:
Orientalism and the Figure of the Jew
Author(s):

Jeffrey S. Librett

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823262915.003.0006

This chapter examines the structurally determined recalcitrance of the mediating border in the grandiose expansion of typological thinking that is Hegel’s Lectures on the Philosophy of History. Focusing on Hegel’s treatment of the “Oriental World,” the chapter pays particularly close attention to his views on ancient Indian and ancient Hebraic cultures, both of which trouble him because they are situated on crucial frontiers in the trajectory of history from necessity to freedom, and from prehumanity to humanity as such. For Hegel, these two uncanny cultural Others are bound together, among other things, by the fact that both Sanskrit (language) and Hebrew (texts) play the role of anticipatory letter with respect to modern languages and thought. The motif of the pantheism of Oriental thought is further examined here, in connection with Hegel’s anxiety about materiality. Finally, the chapter examines the repetitions of the anxiety about the borderline impingements between matter and mind with respect to “modern” transitional processes such as the role of Islam, the Crusades, the French Revolution, and the future in America itself. The moment of Hegelian history turns out to be suspended somewhere between its already (over) and its not yet.

Keywords:   Hegel, India, Jews, Panic, Pantheism, Substance, Islam, French Revolution, end of history, Sanskrit

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