Why do atheist Jews love Israel
Revolts of the Enlightenment against Judaism 1670-1789
Blaise Pascal, for example, poses in his Pensées (1670) states that Jews should be placed between Christians and Gentiles, because they love the carnal or worldly and at the same time turn to the love of God, which does not make them part of either group.
In his treatise on the superstitious ceremonies of the Jews, Spinoza pleads for a new, more sober interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. He doubts the applicability of the laws established in the Old Testament for the (then) present, which is a clear criticism of the truthfulness of biblical texts. Instead of a literal interpretation of the Bible, according to Spinoza, the “spirit of the divine message” (Nirenberg, p. 336) should rather be modeled in the process of interpretation. The more critical Bible studies are intended to help identify the evils of contemporary Christian society in the errors and superstitions of Israelites and Jews (derived from their "false" exegesis of the Old Testament). Such doubts and changes call into question the absolute claim of the divine revelation communicated through the Bible, especially in relation to the Old Testament, despite everything the "special [...] truth claim of Christianity" (Nirenberg, p. 336) or authority of Christianity as such is not made available.
Demands for a more critical exegesis persist until the 18th century ("neue Erforschungswelle des Judentums", Nirenberg, p. 341), which is part of a long tradition of searching for "the Jewish origins of skepticism, materialism and atheism" (Nirenberg, p . 342).
For the Enlightenment movement, the Old Testament is the most important source of darkness to be illuminated, with Judaism being seen as "the most easily mocked offspring of darkness" (Nirenberg, p. 345). One example is Voltaire, whose conviction is to enlighten the Jews in order to "present tolerance of the Enlightenment as a universal phenomenon". (Nirenberg, p. 356)
Opponents of the Enlightenment, on the other hand, use Judaism as a stereotypical example of "hyperrationality, self-interest, atheism and [...] materialism" (Nirenberg, p. 345), which is interpreted here as a threat to the world from the Enlightenment movement.
The concept of reason as the ideological core of the Enlightenment is necessary so that the new philosophical thought construct can function: The new standard of thought is between reason and unreason, with the Jews being shifted into an intellectual area in between.
French enlighteners such as Montesquieu, Voltaire, Rousseau or Diderot make the "Jewish" a relatively over-represented object in their philosophical discussions or their literature ("siècle des lumièrs", Nirenberg, pp. 346-347), whereby the "Jewish" at no time represents an ideological “main concern” (Nirenberg, p. 353). In addition, according to Nirenberg, there was evidence that there were hardly any real Jews living in France at the time.
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