toldot, Volume 2 (2005)
Jüdische Alternativen zum Fin de Siècle
Translated from English by Michael Adrian
and Bettina Engels.
With a foreword by Dan Diner
127 pp., paperback
Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2005
Price: 17,00 € (D)
With the second volume of the »Toldot« series, which was published lately, a German translation of one chapter of Yuri Slezkine's provocative book »The Jewish Century« is available now. What makes his brilliantly written essay »Paradoxical Modernity. Jewish Alternatives to the Fin-de- Siècle« especially fascinating is the fact that the author manages to step beyond the confines of any primarily »ethnic« argumentation, replacing such views with a »universal« approach. In doing so, Slezkine illustrates how virtues of modernity that have traditionally been ascribed to the Jews become generalised and thus conceivable in terms of historiography. Presenting his thesis about »Mercurian« modernity – a world in which, finally, everyone has become »Jewish« -, Slezkine shows how social behaviour and social interaction were rationalised on the grounds of ethnic difference during the European Fin-de-Siècle.