Jewish Self-Affirmation out of the Sources of Christian Supersessionism: Margarete Susman's The Book of Job and the Fate of the Jewish People
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This article reconstructs the Christian-theological underpinnings of Margarete Susman's 1946 Holocaust theodicy, Das Buch Hiob und das Schicksal des jüdischen Volkes. It begins with an analysis of Susman's critique of Zionism and the exilic ideal she posits as its antithesis. It then demonstrates Das Buch Hiob's unsettling affinities to a religious doctrine called the »witness-people myth,« according to which the Jews' persecution and degradation attests to the truth of Christian salvation. Susman's valorization of Jewish diasporism and martyrdom adapts this myth by presenting the Jewish diaspora as lacking religious and communal vitality. As in the Christian variations of this myth, Susman's Holocaust theodicy takes the Jews' physical and spiritual demise as a realization of their divine destiny and exemplarity. Ultimately, Das Buch Hiob's valorization of Jewish victimhood points to the limitations of universalizing the Jewish condition and trying to allegorize it in the wake of the Holocaust.