1st Edition

Hans Jonas The Early Years

    264 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book offers new perspectives on the early and formative years of the German-Jewish philosopher Hans Jonas, through innovative studies of his German and Hebrew work in pre-war Germany and Palestine.

    Covering all facets of Jonas’s early work, the book brings together leading scholars to explore key conceptual, historical, genealogical, and biographical contexts. Some of the main topics examined include his deep intellectual history of Western thought and its origins in late antiquity through the category of Gnosis, the intellectual influence of Heidegger, Bultmann, Husserl, and Spengler, his relation to Christian theology, and his interest in Judaism and Zionism. Existing research on his early work is not only limited in size but also often methodologically deficient, for it is common to interpret the early in light of the late and as teleologically leading to it. By introducing new materials and addressing new questions, this book offers innovative perspectives on Jonas’s intellectual project as a whole and provides a historical and conceptual foundation for further scholarly explorations of his oeuvre.

    Providing fresh insights into the work of one of the twentieth century’s most influential philosophers, the book will appeal to students and researchers working in intellectual history, Jewish studies, and religion.

    1. From Husserl to Heidegger: Jonas’s Double Memory

    Elad Lapidot

    2. Lessons in Interrogative Thinking: Jonas and Bultmann

    Andreas Grossmann

    3. Hans Jonas’s Contributions to Rudolph Bultmann’s Demythologization

    Luca Settimo

    4. The Aporias of Human Freedom: An Early Letter and its Long Impact

    Michael Bongardt

    5. Hans Jonas and Hannah Arendt’s Variations on St. Augustine

    Yael Almog

    6. Hans Jonas on Gnosis and Late Antiquity: In Search of the Spirit of an Epoch

    Johannes Zachhuber

    7. A Historical Transcendental at the Heart of Jonas’ Research on Gnosticism

    Nathalie Frogneux

    8. The Gnostic Myth as a Gambit in German Intellectual Tradition

    Amir Engel

    9. Gnosis und spätantiker Geist. Teil II: The Forgotten Book

    Elad Lapidot

    10. From Gnosis und spätantiker Geist to The Gnostic Religion: The Jerusalem Period in Hans Jonas’s Intellectual Development

    Daniel M. Herskowitz

    11. Once a Gnostic, Always a Gnostic: The Persistence of Gnosticism in Hans Jonas’s Post-War Thought

    Agata Bielik-Robson

    12. Resisting Nihilism: The Motif of Entwurzelung in Jonas’s Early Writings

     Libera Pisano


    Daniel M. Herskowitz teaches religion at the University of Oxford. His first book, Heidegger and His Jewish Reception (2021) was awarded the Salo W. and Jeannette M. Baron Young Scholars Award. His second book, The Judeo-Christian Thought of Franz Rosenzweig, is forthcoming.

    Elad Lapidot is Professor for Jewish Thought at the University of Lille, France. Among his publications: Jews Out of the Question. A Critique of Anti-Anti-Semitism (2020), Heidegger and Jewish Thought. Difficult Others, edited with M. Brumlik (2018).

    Christian Wiese is the Martin Buber Chair in Jewish Thought and Philosophy at Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany. His research focuses on Modern and Contemporary Jewish intellectual and cultural history. His publications include the biography The Life and Thought of Hans Jonas: Jewish Dimensions (2007).