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Classics and National Cultures$
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Susan A. Stephens and Phiroze Vasunia

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199212989

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199212989.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 29 November 2021

Auerbach, Homer, and the Jews

Auerbach, Homer, and the Jews

(p.235) 12 Auerbach, Homer, and the Jews
Classics and National Cultures

James I. Porter

Oxford University Press

The chapter examines Erich Auerbach's contrastive analysis from 1942 of Homer and the Jewish Old Testament, situating that analysis firmly in its immediate historical context of German fascism, anti‐Semitism, and exile. The thesis is that by indexing the present historical moment in his reading, Auerbach, the displaced German Jew in Istanbul, is historicizing philology. At the same time he is inverting the political polarities of philology, not least by contrasting the two treatments (Homeric, biblical‐Jewish) of time, truth, and revelation in the two traditions that he is less comparing than critically pitting against each other. And he is undertaking all this in opposition to the ingrained tendencies of an anti‐Semitic classical philology and in the context of efforts in Germany to de‐Judaize Christianity. While he is remembered today as the founder of comparative literature, Auerbach is in fact Judaizing philology; that is, he is constructing a new oppositional Jewish philology that departs dramatically from the conventions of classical philology and romance philology.

Keywords:   anti‐semitism, Ernst Curtius, Ernst Robert Curtius, Dante, Deutsche Christen, J. G. Droysen, fascism, Walter Grundmann, Adolf Hitler, Istanbul, Jews, Judaism, Nazis, Old Testament, Giambattista Vico, F. A. Wolf

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