Decadenza del linguaggio e crisi del sionismo nel giovane Scholem

  • Enrico Lucca


The article focuses on the early work of Gershom Scholem (1897-1982) and provides a relation between his first thoughts on language and his discontent with Zionist politics in the late 1920s. Scholem shaped his theory of language together with his friend Walter Benjamin at the end of the 1910s. Starting from their common interest for mathematics and, especially in Scholem’s case, for the literary tradition of Jewish lamentations, both Scholem and Benjamin argued for a metaphysical and non-conventional essence of language. The article shows how Scholem’s concern for language, and in particular for the future of the Hebrew language, became later an important part of his critique of Zionist politics, which he reproached for losing connection with Jewish tradition and spending energies and resources in propagandistic activities instead of concentrating on more spiritual and moral issues.


ALTER, Robert (1991), Necessary Angels. Tradition and Modernity in Kafka, Benjamin, and Scholem, Harvard University Press, Cambridge.

BENJAMIN, Walter (2008), Opere complete 1. Scritti 1906-1922, Einaudi, Torino.

BAROUCH, Lina (2010), «Lamenting the Language itself. Gershom Scholem on the silent Language of Lamentation», in New German Critique, n. 37, 3, pp. 1-26.

BAROUCH, Lina (2014), «The Erasure and Endurance of Lament: Gershom Scholem’s Early Critique of Zionism and Its Language», in Jewish Studies Quarterly, n. 21, pp. 13-26.

BONOLA, Gianfranco (2008), «Le delusioni del messianico in Gershom Scholem. Fedeltà mediante il rinnegamento» in Babelonline, n. 4, pp. 153-168.

CAMPANINI, Saverio (2005), A Case for Sainte-Beuve. Some Remarks on Gershom Scholem’s Autobiography, in SCHÄFER, Peter, ELIOR, Rachel (a cura di), Creation and ReCreation in Jewish Thought. Festschrift in Honor of Joseph Dan on the Occasion of His Seventieth Birthday, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, pp. 363-400.

FABRIS, Adriano (1999), «Tradizione e linguaggio. Elementi di paradosso nel pensiero di Gershom Scholem», in Discipline Filosofiche, n. 9, 1, pp. 213-228.

FERBER, Ilit (2013), «A Language of the Border: On Scholem’s Theory of Lament», in Journal of Jewish Thought & Philosophy, n. 21, pp. 161-186.

FERBER, Ilit (2014), «Lament and Pure Language: Scholem, Benjamin and Kant», in Jewish Studies Quarterly, n. 21, pp. 42-54.

HANDELMAN, Susan (1991), Fragments of Redemption: Jewish Thought and Literary Theory in Benjamin, Scholem, and Levinas, Indiana University Press, Bloomington.

IDEL, Moshe (2010), Old Worlds, new Mirrors: on Jewish Mysticism and 20th Century Thought, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia.

LÖWY, Michael (2001), «Messianism in the early Work of Gershom Scholem», in New German Critique, n. 83, pp. 177-191.

LUCCA, Enrico (2012), La dialettica paradossale tra rivelazione e commento e la crisi della tradizione nell’opera di Gershom Scholem, in BARTOLOMEI, Mariacristina (a cura di), La Filosofia e il Grande Codice. Fissità dello Scritto - Libertà del Pensiero?, Claudiana, Torino, pp. 105-123.

LUCCA, Enrico (2013), «Sull’orlo dell’abisso: Scholem e Rosenzweig sulla lingua ebraica», in Rivista di Storia della Filosofia, n. 68, 2, pp. 305-320.

MOSES, Stéphane (1992), L’ange de l’histoire. Rosenzweig, Benjamin, Scholem, Seuil, Paris (L'angelo della storia. Rosenzweig, Benjamin, Scholem, trad. a cura di M. Bertaggia, Anabasi, Milano, 1993).

SCHOLEM, Gershom (1975), Walter Benjamin. Geschichte einer Freundschaft, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main (trad. it. Walter Benjamin. Storia di un’amicizia, Adelphi, Milano, 1992).

SCHOLEM, Gershom (1986), Briefe an Werner Kraft, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main.

SCHOLEM, Gershom (1989), ‘Od davar, ‘Am ‘Oved, Tel Aviv.

SCHOLEM, Gershom (1995), Tagebücher nebst Aufsätzen und Entwürfen bis 1923. 1. Halbband 1913-1917, a cura di K. Gründer e F. Niewöhner con la collaborazione di H. Kopp-Oberstebrink, Jüdischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main.

SCHOLEM, Gershom (1997), «Le delusioni di un sionista», trad. it. a cura di M. Cavarocchi, in Micromega, n. 3, pp. 191-194.

SCHOLEM, Gershom (2000), Tagebücher nebst Aufsätzen und Entwürfen bis 1923. 2. Halbband 1917-1923, a cura di K. Gründer, H. Kopp-Obersterbrink, F. Niewöhner, con la collaborazione di K.E. Grözinger, Jüdischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main.

SCHOLEM, Gershom (2012), «Über Kant», in Modern Language Notes, n. 127, 3, pp.440-441.

SCHWEBEL, Paula (2014), «Lament and the Shattered Expression of Mourning: Gershom Scholem and Walter Benjamin», in Jewish Studies Quarterly, n. 21, pp. 27-41.

SHEDLETZKY, Itta (2007), «Auf der Suche nach dem verlorenen Judentum. Zur “historischen Gestalt” Gershom Scholems», in Münchener Beiträge zur jüdischen Geschichte und Kultur, n. 1, 2, pp. 30-47.

SONINO, Claudia (2011), “Non possiamo mai arrivare pienamente a casa”. Gershom Scholem arriva in Eretz Israel in SCHIAVONI, Giulio, MASSINO, Guido (a cura), Verso una terra “antica e nuova”,Carocci, Roma, pp. 193-211.

WEIDNER, Daniel (2003), Gershom Scholem. Politisches, esoterisches und historiographisches Schreiben, Fink, München.

How to Cite
Lucca, E. (1) “Decadenza del linguaggio e crisi del sionismo nel giovane Scholem”, Rivista Italiana di Filosofia del Linguaggio, 8(2). Available at: (Accessed: 19August2022).