Walter Benjamin and the Bible

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This book follows the theme of sacred text from Benjamin’s early writings on religion, Judaism, and language to the study of Baroque tragedy, modernism, history, and the Paris Arcades. All of these writings reflect a commentary on the idea of the sacred text in Western culture.


“Brian Britt’s study of Walter Benjamin’s relation to the Hebrew Bible is a subtle and admirable work. The idea of textual sacredness is crucial to Benjamin’s criticism, but frequently is obscured, as much by Benjamin’s own evasiveness as by his irrelevant Marxist colorings. Britt has found a series of illuminating perspectives that help us locate Benjamin’s intricate ways of circling about what must be called the idea of the Hebrew Bible.” – Harold Bloom

“An innovative treatment of the category of sacred text as a deep structure of Benjamin’s work. Britt illuminates Benjamin’s project of retrieving, through traces of loss, the quest for a pure language in Western culture. This book is challenging, stimulating, and written with a clarity that makes it a pleasure to read.” – Michael Fishbane

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Preface to Second Edition
1. Sacred Texts and the Scriptural Function
2. Archive of Pure Language: Language and Sacred Text in Benjamin’s Philosophy
3. The Task: “To Regain Pure Language”
4. The Bible in the Modern World
5. Benjamin’s Biblical Interpretations
6. The Scriptural Function of Contemporary Culture
Appendix: The Aura of Benjamin’s Death: Interview with Lisa Fittko

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