After the Holocaust: The Book of Job, Primo Levi, and the by C. Fred Alford

By C. Fred Alford

The Holocaust marks a decisive second in glossy anguish within which it turns into nearly very unlikely to discover which means or redemption within the event. during this learn, C. Fred Alford deals a brand new and considerate exam of the event of discomfort. relocating from the publication of activity, an account of significant anguish in a God-drenched global, to the paintings of Primo Levi, who tried to discover which means within the Holocaust via absolute readability of perception, he concludes that neither method works good in trendy international. more suitable are the day by day coping practices of a few survivors. Drawing on tales of survivors from the Fortunoff Video files, Alford additionally applies the paintings of Julia Kristeva and the psychoanalyst Donald Winnicot to his exam of an issue that has been and remains to be primary to human adventure.

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Extra resources for After the Holocaust: The Book of Job, Primo Levi, and the Path to Affliction

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That the parent-figures are lacking in confidence in the processes of human nature and are frightened of the unknown. (Winnicott 1965b, 93) The other reason Winnicott’s psychoanalytic theory is useful for thinking about religion is that his account of how we create what is already there lends itself to a nondogmatic belief in God. ” is not so central, not so important. Helpful as this aspect of Winnicott’s work is in thinking about God, it is not the part on which I am going to draw, at least not directly.

To be sure, God begins in anger, which takes the famous form of asking Job, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Speak if you have understanding” (38:4). “Where were you when I separated the earth from the seas? ” (38:12). Soon, however, God seems to tire of baiting Job, even as the poem continues to utilize the form of rhetorical query. Instead, God becomes transfixed by the beauty and the wonder of His creation. Indeed, one has the impression that it was no easy task. To walk the depths of the sea To see behind the gates of death.

Chapter 4 addresses the work of Primo Levi. For many, Levi was the man who kept his humanity through the most dreadful circumstances, thereby restoring our confidence in humankind. For many, Levi’s suicide seemed to devalue all that he had taught us. Only in the years since his death is it possible to see his work as a whole, to see that he was always struggling with a darker question – a question closer to the one raised in previous chapters: how to keep not just his suffering but also human suffering from remaining stuck in the realm of the absurd, the haunting ground of abjection.

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