Document Type



March 2011




German Literature


Intrinsically dialectical in nature, sudden messianic change and the resolute character of the law are so closely connected with one another that both concepts should be among the key factors shaping a broad understanding of global cultures today. Whether we await the coming of the messiah as the Jewish religion teaches or commemorate his having come and died as most Christian teachings hold, it appears that Walter Benjamin’s “now of a particular recognizability” (The Arcades Project 493) remains elusive, especially with respect to the correlation between the past and the future. In the spirit of temporal vectors that converge, Benjamin’s and Franz Kafka’s approaches to messianism are considered within the dialectics that make divine justice and profane power pivotal concepts of twenty-first-century cultural theory.

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