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Agata Bielik-Robson


Mysteries of The Promise: Negative Theology in Benjamin and Scholem; May 15, 4-6pm, Wolfson Research Exchange, rm 3


A research seminar on Professor Bielik-Robson's research on Walter Benjamin and Gershom Scholem's Jewish negative theology in light of their discussion of Kafka

Download the reading here (PDF Document)


Schier vollendet bis zum Dache

Ist der grosse Weltbetrug.

Gib denn, Gott, dass der erwache,

Den dein Nichts durchschlug.

So allein strahlt Offenbarung

In die Zeit, die dich verwarf.

Nur den Nichts is die Erfahrung,

Die sie von dir haben darf.

- Gershom Scholem, a poem on Kafka’s Trial


The difference between ‘not,’ ‘nothingness,’ and ‘none’ is of great importance for philosophy. The Kabbalah contains the fundamental notion (which reappears in Hermann Cohen) that God is nothingness… Idols are called ‘nothing,’ while God is called ‘nothingness’ (which is entirely un-Christian).

- Gershom Scholem, Diary entry from the 22nd of February, 1918


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Professor Bielik-Robson is the Jewish Studies Chair in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Nottingham. Her immensely distinguished career is founded on her research and teaching on modern Jewish thought from Spinoza to Derrida; and the dialogue between contemporary philosophy and theology. A list of her publications can be found here.