Publisher description for Foregone conclusions : against apocalyptic history / Michael Andrāe Bernstein.


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Counter Michael Andre Bernstein's passionate denunciation of apocalyptic thinking provides a moral, philosophical, and literary challenge to the way most of us make sense of our worlds. In our search for coherence, Bernstein argues, we tend to see our lives as moving toward a predetermined fate. This "foreshadowing" demeans the variety, the richness, and especially the unpredictability of everyday life. Apocalyptic history denies the openness and choice available to its actors.

Bernstein chooses the Holocaust as the prime example of our tendency toward foregone conclusions. He argues eloquently against politicians and theologians who depict the Holocaust as foreordained and its victims as somehow implicated in a fate they should have been able to foresee. But his argument ranges wider. From recent biographies of Kafka to the Israeli-P.L.O. peace accords, from campus cultural diversity debates to the Crown Heights riots, Bernstein warns against our passive acceptance of historical or personal victimization.

An essential contribution to Holocaust studies, this book is also a lucid call to transform the way we read and write history and the way we make sense of our lives.

Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945), in literature, Appelfeld, Aron, Badenhaim, °ir nofesh, Victims in literature, Holocaust,Jewish (1939-1945) Influence, Jews History Philosophy