In The Moral Triangle, Sa’ed Atshan and Katharina Galor draw on ethnographic fieldwork and interviews to explore the asymmetric relationships between Germans and Israeli and Palestinian immigrants in the context of official German policies, public discourse, and the private sphere. They show how these relationships stem from narratives surrounding moral responsibility, the Holocaust, the Israel/Palestine conflict, and Germany’s recent welcoming of Middle Eastern refugees. They also point to spaces for activism and solidarity among Germans, Israelis, and Palestinians in Berlin that can help foster restorative justice and account for multiple forms of trauma. Highlighting their interlocutors’ experiences, memories, and hopes, Atshan and Galor demonstrate the myriad ways in which migration, trauma, and contemporary state politics are inextricably linked.
In the Beginning was the State: Divine Violence in the Hebrew Bible (Adi Ophir)
This book explores God’s use of violence as depicted in the Hebrew Bible. Focusing on the Pentateuch, it reads biblical narratives and codes of law as documenting formations of theopolitical imagination. Ophir deciphers the logic of divine rule that these documents betray, with special attention to the place of violence within it. The book draws from contemporary biblical scholarship, while also engaging critically with contemporary political theory and political theology, including the work of Walter Benjamin, Giorgio Agamben, Jan Assmann, Regina Schwartz, and Michael Walzer.
Ophir focuses on three distinct theocratic formations: the rule of disaster, where catastrophes are used as means of governance; the biopolitical rule of the holy, where divine violence is spatially demarcated and personally targeted; and the rule of law where divine violence is vividly remembered and its return is projected, anticipated, and yet postponed, creating a prolonged lull for the text’s present.
Different as these formations are, Ophir shows how they share an urform that anticipates the main outlines of the modern European state, which has monopolized the entire globe. A critique of the modern state, the book argues, must begin in revisiting the deification of the state, unpacking its mostly repressed theological dimension.