Simon Dubnow Institute
for Jewish History and Culture at Leipzig University

Studies of the Simon Dubnow Institute, Volume 11

Yotam Hotam:

Moderne Gnosis und Zionismus.

Kulturkrise, Lebensphilosophie

und nationaljüdisches Denken.

Translated from Hebrew by Dafna Mach



277 pp. with 3 illustrations

Hardcover with dust jacket

Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2010

ISBN 978-3-525-36989-0

Price: 50,00 € (D)






Modern Gnosis and Zionism reveals the compound connection between Life Philosophy (Lebensphilosophie) – a post-Nietzschean common approach that proliferated in the German culture of the turn of the nineteenth century – and Zionist thought.


Volume 11 of the Schriftenreihe, by Yotam Hotam, is a translation from Hebrew and deals with the nexus in intellectual and cultural history between Zionist thought and the current of Lebensphilosophie in the German-speaking countries around 1900, examining the interconnections between them. In the context of intellectual history, Zionist thought was shaped by Lebensphilosophie, an outlook which was predominant in the thinking of many intellectuals from the turn of the century down into the 1920s. Zionism and Lebensphilosophie were interconnected not only because both provided answers to the generally perceived cultural crisis of the day. Another shared attribute was that numerous writings of Lebensphilosophie saw themselves as a form of modern gnosis. Examining writings by the philosopher Ludwig Klages (1872–1956) and the Jewish thinker Theodor Lessing (1872–1933) and Jakob Klatzkin (1882–1948), the author places Zionism in its broader philosophical and intellectual-historical context, investigating traces of Lebensphilosophie in its conceptions.