The Non-Jewish Jew & Other Essays
Isaac Deutscher’s concept of the “The Non-Jewish Jew” has been adopted by many secular leftist Jewish intellectuals as a badge of identity. Defined by a universal and humanist outlook that is rooted in Jewish thought, it is a construct that draws inspiration from Jewish thinkers such as Baruch Spinoza, Heinrich Heine, Karl Marx, Rosa Luxemburg, Sigmund Freud, and Leon Trotsky, whom he sees as revolutionaries of modern thought who went beyond the boundaries of their Jewish background.
In what perhaps is the most lucid passage of this provocative essay, Deutscher attributes their exceptional breadth to the fact that, as Jews, they lived in the boundaries of various civilizations, religions, and national cultures and were born and grew up on the boundaries of various epochs.
In this collection of essays, Deutscher speaks of the emotional heritage of the European Jew with calmness and clear-sightedness; as a historian he writes without anger but with compassion; as a non-Jewish Jew he writes without religious belief, but with generous breadth of understanding.
Previously published in Germany and Japan.