Human History According to Franz Rosenzweig

by Harley Voogd

“What happens in history, [Rosenzweig] says, is not a struggle between man’s faith and man’s reason but a struggle between God and man. In world history the absolute powers themselves are dramatis personae [the characters of the play]. Revelation breaks into the world and transforms creation, which is the Alpha of history, into redemption, which is the Omega. Philosophy has a pagan quality. It is an expression of the Alpha, of creation, of pure nature to which God has given freedom — even against himself. But as revelation comes into the world, it gradually absorbs philosophy, deprives it of its pagan elements, and illuminates it with its own light. The Omega of history will be realized after the element of creation, the world’s freedom, has spent itself. Then God, who has allowed the world to be in the Alpha, will again be the First and the Last, the Alpha and the Omega.”

~Alexander Altmann, from Franz Rosenzweig and Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy: An Introduction to Their “Letters on Judaism & Christianity”, from Judaism Despite Christianity, University of Chicago Press, 1935, page 33.

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