Benjamin Lazier

Dissertation Fellow
2000-2001

Benjamin Lazier, a candidate for the Ph.D. in History, takes the title of his dissertation, Redemption Through Sin: Judaism and Heresy in Interwar Europe, from a seminal essay written in 1936 by the historian of Jewish mysticism Gershom Scholem; but the object of his own study is the recuperation of the antinomian impulse in interwar Europe. Beginning with attention to Scholem’s thinking on limits and their transgression, Lazier’s study moves on to encompass the renewed interest in gnostic antinomianism, the Jewish rehabilitation of Spinoza, the Jewish recovery of the “Jewish Christian” in both the scholarly world and popular culture, and the celebration of transgressive practices. The dissertation will conclude with a meditation on the afterlife of interwar antinomianism in postmodernist and postructuralist thought.