Golomb, Jacob 1947-

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GOLOMB, Jacob 1947-

PERSONAL: Born June 5, 1947, in Wroclaw (now Breslau), Poland; son of Eliahu (an engineer) and Barbara Golomb; married Margit (a high school history teacher), January 31, 1982; children: Orianne. Education: McGill University, M.A.; Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Ph.D., 1983. Religion: Jewish.

ADDRESSES: Home—17 Hehalutz Street, Jerusalem 96222, Israel. Office—Department of Philosophy, Hebrew University, Mount Scopus, Jerusalem 91905, Israel. E-mail[email protected].

CAREER: Hebrew University of Jerusalem, professor of philosophy and director of Center for Austrian Studies; philosophical editor of Hebrew University's Magnes Press. Wolfson College, Oxford, visiting fellow, 1992; Pennsylvania State University, visiting professor, 1997-98.

AWARDS, HONORS: Canada Council fellowships.


(Editor) Friedrich Nietzsche, Masot 'al Hinukh leTarbut (title means "Essays on Education"), Magnes (Jerusalem, Israel), 1988.

Nietzsche's Enticing Psychology of Power, Iowa State University Press (Ames, IA), 1989.

Mavo le-Filosofyot ha-Kiyum (title means "Introduction to Philosophies of Existence"), Matkal (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1990.

In Search of Authenticity: From Kierkegaard to Camus, Routledge (New York, NY), 1995.

(Editor) Nietzshe and Jewish Culture, Routledge (New York, NY), 1997.

(Coeditor, with Robert S. Wistrich and Weaver Santaniello) Nietzshe and Depth Psychology, State University of New York Press (Albany, NY), 1999.

Nitsheh ba-Tarbut ha-'Ivrit (title means "Nietzshe, Zionism, and Hebrew Culture"), Magnes (Jerusalem, Israel), 2002.

(Coeditor, with Robert S. Wistrich) Nietzshe, Godfather of Fascism? On the Uses and Abuses of a Philosophy, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 2002.

Nietzsche and Zion, Cornell University Press (Ithaca, NY), 2004.

Also author of Nitsheh—Psikholog ha-'Otsmah (title means "Nietzsche: The Psychologist of Power"). Contributor to books, including Søren Kierkegaard: Critical Assessments of Leading Philosophers, Volume 1, edited by Daniel W. Conway, Routledge (London, England), 2002. Contributor to journals, including Philosophy Today and Existentia.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Currently working on Nietzsche in Zion, the second and complementary part of Nietzsche and Zion.

SIDELIGHTS: The topics of German philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche and Jewish culture in general weigh prominently in the writings of Israeli-based scholar Jacob Golomb. His personal understanding of Nietzsche differs from that of many other philosophers, however. In Nietzshe, Godfather of Fascism? On the Uses and Abuses of a Philosophy, Golomb disagrees with the notion that Nietzsche's rhetoric of antidemocracy fits with fascist politics. Instead, he "sees Nietzsche as a philosopher who differentiates between brute force (Kraft) and creative capability (power)," explained Michael Mack in the Journal of Religion. Francisco J. Gonzales, writing in Ethics, criticized Golomb's book In Search of Authenticity: From Kierkegaard to Camus for its subjectivity. Gonzales stated that "Golomb makes authenticity so subjective he renders it indefinable, undemonstrable, incapable of implementation or of providing an ethical norm."

Golomb told CA: "My first books and articles on Nietzsche were among the pioneering researches that emphasized the significance of his psychology for the understanding of his philosophy. The principal and novel assumption underlying these studies is that one of the most useful ways to explore Nietzsche's aphoristic labyrinth is to take (following his advice) the psychological perspective as a guide.

"In my early works I showed how his philosophical psychology enables us to reconstitute and explicate Nietzsche's positive theses, such as the positive power morality versus the negative power patterns—a distinction that has been largely ignored by his many commentators. Likewise, his surprisingly consistent distinction between the central notion of spiritual power (Macht) as against physical force (Kraft) and violence (Gewalt) was entirely ignored by other researchers. I also made it clear that his anthropology can help us to solve several problems and alleged contradictions in his writings, especially the inner tension between the skeptical and perspectival ramifications of his thought and the more positive notions like the eternal recurrence, the will to power, and the 'tragic truth.' These difficulties are partly resolved, I believe, if we take his philosophy to be a kind of thought experiment, functioning for the reader as an existential enticement that tests our ability for self-overcoming and enhancing our spiritual-creative powers.

"My second field of research has dealt with tracing, explicating, and analyzing a vital concept in modern European thought—namely the ideal of authentic life. My book In Search of Authenticity: From Kierkegaard to Camus is actually the first sustained attempt to explain this very influential tradition in Continental thought, which tried to promote the ideal of personal authenticity as a moral value. I argued that although it is not a moral norm, authenticity is still a viable moral value that can in principle be implemented in society despite certain theoretical difficulties. Highlighting this ideal in the thoughts of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Camus throws an original light on their teachings and explains their particular ethical stance on the subject. Thus, for example, I showed that Heidegger's notion of Eigentlichkeit (what Sartre later called authenticité) is much more critical to his 'ontological phenomenology' than is commonly thought. His attempt to lay a foundation for his fundamental approach to the question of being leads him, among other things, to a highly original explication of authenticity and death.

"My third field of research is the clarification of the syndrome of German 'marginal Jews' (Grenzjuden). In a number of articles, I've dealt with the enthusiastic and early reception of Nietzsche's writings and ideas among such Jewish men of letters as Schnitzler, Wassermann, Zweig, Freud, Sternheim, Kafka, and Buber. I argued that Nietzsche's relevance to the need for personal authenticity manifested by these Grenzjuden contributed to the irresistible attraction his works had for them. However, my most ambitious research project has been the comprehensive study, Nietzsche and Zion, which makes use of material that has not been widely available. My research shows that Nietzsche's ideas were more widely disseminated and appropriated among the first Hebrew Zionists (Herzl, Nordau, Berdichevski, etc.) than was previously realized.

"Currently, I am immersed in the second and complementary part of this project, which deals with Nietzsche in British Mandatory Palestine and later in the State of Israel. This will include chapters on Nietzsche and the Israeli Left in the Kibbutz and Labor movements, Nietzsche and the Right (Eldad, the Canaanite Movement), and the critique by post-Zionist historians of the ideal of the 'New Jew.'"



Ethics, April, 1997, Francisco J. Gonzales, review of In Search of Authenticity: From Kierkegaard to Camus, p. 550.

Journal of Religion, October, 2003, Michael Mack, review of Nietzshe, Godfather of Fascism? On the Uses and Abuses of a Philosophy, p. 662.

M2 Best Books, January 20, 2003, review of Nietzshe, Godfather of Fascism?

Shofar, winter, 2003, review of Nietzshe, Godfather of Fascism?, p. 199.


Hebrew University of Jerusalem Web site, http://www.huji.ac.il/ (July 12, 2004), "Jacob Golomb."