Web Log Archives
The Healing motion
Brunner, philosopher and philosophical psychologist, founder of motion psychology, was the first to see a movement space in the human soul.
Read “Exclusive Interview with Yaron Margolin.” Previously here.

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New in the library
Here is a philosopher who cares not whether many agree with him; in fact, ex hypothesi, the people, who are always mixing up non-reality with reality, will censure and ridicule him. Yet he cares not one straw for all this, having within himself abolished all the vulgar unrealities—God, moral laws, the spirituality of the soul, the separate existence of mind and matter, all the stuff taught by ordinary theologians and metaphysicians.
Read the rest of the review of Brunner that appeared in Athenaeum, 1908.

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Duty calls
Jacques Aron continues his crucial work (previously here and here) with a new French translation of Brunner’s On the duty of the Jews and on the duty of the state. The publisher’s blurb states that this book’s originality lies in that it is both a radical examination of antisemitism and a unrelenting critique of the Zionist response to the rise of Nazism. The book has an introduction by Jean-Baptiste Baronian.

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Der Ring des Brunnerungen
A ring that once belonged to Constantin Brunner is in the Judah L. Magnes Museum in Berkeley, California. The ring, probably in Brunner's family for generations, was given to Lothar Bickel on Brunner's death. After Bickel died in 1951, his son gave the ring to Magnes. "Mazal Tov" is inscribed in Hebrew on the exterior, and the interior is inscribed in German: "L. Bickel testamentarisch vermacht von Constantin Brunner 1862-1937."

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Saxon-Israeli Brunner-Projekt
Brunner's letters are appearing online. This is a joint project of the Seminar for German Philology of the University of Göttingen and the Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Research Center of the Hebrew University Jerusalem, with the assistance of the Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture. The project is expected to take three years. Some examples have already been uploaded. ICBI President, Dr. Jürgen Stenzel, is active on the Project.

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Magdalena returns home
A portrait of Magdalena Kasch by Netti Bromberg has been placed in the Haus der Kurgastes in Neindorf (article in German). Renata Stolte Batta (second from left) of the Constantin Brunner Foundation oversaw the move of the portrait from the International Constantin Brunner Institute in The Hague to its new home in Kasch’s birthplace. Kasch was one of Brunner’s most devoted followers. She lived in his home for many years, and after the Second World War coordinated the activity of the ICBI until her death.

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New article by Aron
Jacques Aron has published a new essay on Brunner. Entitled "Constantin Brunner, le plus juif des philosophes allemands; le plus allemand des philosophes juifs" (Constantin Brunner, the most Jewish of German philosophers; the most German of Jewish philosophers), the article appears in Diasporiques, a journal of contemporary culture. Aron provides a summary of Brunner’s work, emphasizing his important place in the history of cultural studies and in particular the pre-Holocaust situation of German Jews. Aron declares that "l'actualité de sa pensée nous paraît intacte, à l'heure de la construction d’une Europe ouverte et multiculturelle, à l'heure du dépassement des conflits qui l’avaient conduite à la ruine" (the relevance of his thought appears to us intact, at the moment of the construction of an open and multicultural Europe, at the moment of the overcoming of the conflicts that have led to ruin).

Le Monde Diplomatique mentions Aron's article, "un beau texte sur Constantin Brunner," in its roundup of current periodicals.

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New book by Michael Mack
Michael Mack’s new book, Spinoza and the Specters of Modernity: The Hidden Enlightenment of Diversity from Spinoza to Freud, has just been published. Mack explains that this new work originated from the insight that “a development of German Idealism and the Jew could logically be conceived within the study of Spinoza and Spinozan thought.” The book makes specific mention of Brunner and his Spinoza contra Kant. My copy of Mack’s book is on order, and I plan to put forward a review.

A preview of the book is available here. The passage dealing with Brunner is on page 8 of the book (page 14 of the extract).

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Compte rendu
The French translation of my review of Martin Rodan's book has been published in Revue Juive.

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New in the library
In a class of its own within the Jewish Jesus literature stands the weighty tome (715 pages!), Our Christ, or the essence of genius, by the lately immortalized philosopher, Constantin Brunner (Leopold Wertheimer). Only some essential passages of the content-heavy book can be indicated here. Christ is a mystic, and in order to understand him, we must understand the essence of mysticism.
Read the rest of Gösta Lindeskog's 1938 appraisal of Brunner's Our Christ.

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Rodan's wager
I received my passport in the mail the other day. No, not the passport that lets us leave our native land and fellow citizens, but rather one that takes us to the home of the great geniuses of our culture. I'm talking about Martin Rodan's Notre culture européenne, cette inconnue.

Read the rest of my review.

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Book Notice
Martin Rodan has just published a book entitled Notre culture européenne, cette inconnue. I am eagerly awaiting my copy. I will be devoting a lot of space here to a detailed study of this important work.

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Then we take Berlin
In a recent interview, three prominent Brunnerians discuss the transfer of the Brunner archive from the Brunner Institute in The Hague to the Jewish Museum in Berlin. There is also mention of a symposium to be held in the German capital in 2012. The interviewer asks some excellent questions, including one about Einstein's criticism of Brunner (see here). Brunner Institute President Jürgen Stenzel answers the question by stressing the deep harmony of their thinking with regard to determinism in science.

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New in the Library
An article about Brunner originally published in The Jewish Quarterly (vol. 7 no. 1 (Winter 1959/1960)) provides an excellent synopsis of Brunner's life, work and significance.

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Spinoza contra Kant in English
I have uploaded to the Internet Archive an unpublished English translation of Spinoza gegen Kant. The translation is Henri Lurié's, which I have edited.

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Brunner in digital full text
The Internet Archive has digitized the full text of Brunner's Der Judenhass und die Juden. The scan, which is of the 1919 edition, is available in multiple formats, and includes extracts from several reviews of Brunner's other works, as well as an announcement for Our Christ.

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New monograph in French
Belgian publisher Didier-Devillez is presenting Jacques Aron's translation of Brunner's work on antisemitism. The monograph is entitled Le Malheur de notre peuple allemand et nos «völksich». Un philosophe allemand de l'antisémitisme, du nazisme et du sionisme, and includes Aron's introduction and notes. The publisher's blurb credits Brunner for his prescience and courage in confronting Nazism:
En 1924, pendant que Hitler, emprisonné après son putsch manqué, rédige Mein Kampf, le parti nazi connaît ses premiers succès en Thuringe. Aussitôt Brunner, philosophe spinoziste, toujours au fait de l'actualité, publie un pamphlet qui s'adresse à tous les Allemands, Juifs et non-Juifs, pour dénoncer les dangers de l'État de non droit qui se dessine.
Related post: Auschwitz understood.

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Brunner in portrait

The Center for Jewish History Digital Collections catalogs a number of artworks depicted Constantin Brunner. There is a portrait by Max Busyn, a wooden head of unknown authorship and Brunner's death mask. All are said to be in the possession of the Leo Baeck Institute in New York, but I have seen a death mask at the Brunnerzimmer in The Hague.


A while ago, I posted an item about a portrait of Brunner by Julie Wolfthorn that appeared in the journal Ost und West, and is made available through a digitization project called Compact Memory, "the science portal for Jewish Studies." The database is searchable, and a number of articles by and about Brunner can be found in it. One item that I found was what appears to be a most compelling portrait of Brunner.

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Auschwitz Understood

The Bulletin Trimestriel de la Fondation Auschwitz has dedicated a special issue to Constantin Brunner (announced here, pdf, p. 5-6). Included are an editorial, an introductory essay and an extract from Brunner's Das unglück unsres deutschen Volkes und unsre Völkischen (The Misfortune of our German Folk and our "Folkish").

The impetus for this publication comes from Jacques Aron, a Belgian architect who has made many contributions to discussion of urgent social concerns, and has now taken a great interest in Brunner, whom he discussed in a forum sponsored by La Maison du Livre, an organization devoted to the promotion of "books, literature and writing."

There is much in Aron's introductory essay to reinforce the conviction of Brunner's growing importance for an adequate understanding of our times.

It appears that the Bulletin eventually will place the whole text of the issue (N°98) on its website.

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Vive la France!
Some of Brunner's most active support has come from France. Albert Camus mentioned Lothar Bickel in L'Homme révolté. Prof. Michaël Baraz wrote an excellent study entitled La révolution insespérée. And Henri Lurié translated and composed a considerable quantity of material that is deposited at the Sorbonne. Currently, Raoul Sabas operates discussion and information websites, including an msn group and a blog. Raoul attended the meeting of the ICBI in The Hague in 2004 at which I, too, was present. He is an unrelenting critic of the pseudo-élites that dominate cultural discourse, and a passionate advocate for truth and liberté d'esprit.
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