In a perceptive analysis of diverse source material, the essays of the late Uriel Tal in this volume uncover the dynamics of the secularization of religion, and the sacralization of politics in the Nazi era. Through a process of inversion of meaning, concepts such as race, blood, soil, state, nation and Führer were brought into the realm of faith, mission, salvation, sacredness and myth, thereby acquiring absolute significance. Within this Nazi worldview, the Jew epitomised the arch enemy, both as a symbol and as the concrete embodiment of all that Nazism sought to negate: Western civilisation, monotheism, critical rationalism and humanism.
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Uriel Tal (d. 1984) was Professor of Modern Jewish History at Tel Aviv University and Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Postgraduate Hebrew Studies. He lectured widely in the United States and Europe and was visiting professor in several American universities. His work focused on modern Jewish history and European history, primarily the history of ideas and religious thought. His publications include: Christians and Jews in Germany: Religion, Politics and Ideology in the Second Reich, 1870-1914 (1975); Myth and Reason in Contemporary Jewry (1987, Hebrew); Political Theology and the Third Reich (1991, Hebrew).
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