In "Moses the Egyptian"—the centerpiece of Rigorism of Truth, the German philosopher Hans Blumenberg addresses two defining figures in the intellectual history of the twentieth century: Sigmund Freud and Hannah Arendt. Unpublished during his lifetime, this essay analyzes Freud’s Moses and Monotheism (1939) and Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem (1963), and discovers in both a principled rigidity that turns into recklessness because it is blind to the politics of the unknown.
Offering striking insights into the importance of myth in politics and the extent to which truth can be tolerated in adversity, the essay also provides one of the few instances where Blumenberg reveals his thinking about Judaism and Zionism. Rigorism of Truth also includes commentaries by Ahlrich Meyer that give a fuller understanding of the philosopher’s engagement with Freud, Arendt, and the Eichmann trial, as well as situating these reflections in the broader context of Blumenberg’s life and thought.
"Blumenberg’s essay brilliantly demonstrates his thesis on the subjectivity of ‘truth.’"
— Neue Zürcher Zeitung
"This work is recommended to everyone interested in Blumenberg’s thinking and work."
"At the core of this fascinating volume is Hans Blumenberg’s concise essay, which addresses Freud’s last work, ‘Moses der Aegypter,’ and Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem. It stages Blumenberg's own thinking about myth, his unexpected engagement with Jewish topics, and a surprisingly sharp critique of Arendt’s text. Ahlrich Meyer's lucid critical apparatus engages and clarifies the essay’s arguments, offering readers a judicious and balanced access to this intriguing text."
— Russell A. Berman, Stanford University, editor of Telos
About the Author:
Hans Blumenberg (1920–1996) was Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, at the University of Münster and the author of books including Paradigms for a Metaphorology (also in Cornell’s Signale series), The Legitimacy of the Modern Age, The Genesis of the Copernican World, and Work on Myth.
Editor Ahlrich Meyer, a German political scientist and historian, is the author of many books in German.
Translator Joe Paul Kroll is Editor at the Leibniz Institute of European History, Mainz, Germany.