This article suggests that bringing Jewish literature and Jewish thought into conversation can deepen our understanding of each. As an illustration of this interdisciplinary methodology, I offer a reading of Cynthia Ozick's 1987 Messiah of Stockholm. I claim that Ozick has embedded an argument about the relationship of post-Holocaust Jewry to the past into the literary features of her novel. Her argument draws in particular upon Leo Baeck's account of Judaism as focused on the present and future in contrast to the worshipful approach to the past characteristic of other religions. At the same time, I offer a more nuanced take on the fear of idolatry so often noted in analyses of Ozick's work and situate that fear in relationship to the literary theories of her predecessor Bruno Schulz, who plays a key role in the novel, and her contemporary Harold Bloom.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies
- Religious studies
- Literature and Literary Theory