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Abstract

The assimilation of Central European Jews into German society over the course of the nineteenth century precipitated a generational divide over spiritual and cultural values, and helps explain the widespread fascination among German-Jewish intellectuals during the early twentieth century with dynamics of the domestic realm. In my dissertation project I argue that the representations of father-son relations in the writings of Sigmund Freud and Franz Kafka demonstrate significant points of continuity with and departure from the theological vision of Martin Luther, underscoring the extent to which Freud and Kafka demonstrate points of continuity and discontinuity with Christian as well as Jewish theological models. Reading Freud and Kafka through a Lutheran analytic does not simply challenge conventional understandings about the contours and limits of their Jewish identities and commitments; it tells a story about the seductive influence of Christianity on Jewish intellectuals, and encourages us to frame the modern era as the mutual interpenetration and differentiation of religious traditions.

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