Autochthony, promised land, and exile: Athens and Jerusalem revisited

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Title: Autochthony, promised land, and exile: Athens and Jerusalem revisited
Author: Hood, Stephen l'Argent
Advisor: Wyschogrod, Edith
Degree: Doctor of Philosophy thesis
Abstract: The study examines three myths endemic to Western culture, autochthony (indigenousness), promised land, and exile, taking as figurative representations Athens for autochthony and Jerusalem for promised land. The myth of autochthony is found in ancient Greek literature and the myth of promised land is found in Hebrew scripture. The notion of exile is shown to be a corollary to promised land, and in opposition to autochthony. The philosophy of Martin Heidegger is shown to articulate an essential commitment to autochthony, which is explicitly contrasted to rootlessness and homelessness (what Heidegger takes to be the substance of modernity itself). The philosophy of Franz Rosenzweig is shown to prioritize Jewish exile as necessary for world redemption, a notion of exile explicitly contrasted to autochthony. Nazi Germany exemplifies the opposition of German autochthony and Jewish exile.
Citation: Hood, Stephen l'Argent. (2006) "Autochthony, promised land, and exile: Athens and Jerusalem revisited." Doctoral Thesis, Rice University.
Date: 2006

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