"The source of all religious art"? Messianism and art in Cohen’s thought

Journal title PARADIGMI
Author/s Ezio Gamba
Publishing Year 2017 Issue 2017/1 Language English
Pages 13 P. 143-155 File size 175 KB
DOI 10.3280/PARA2017-001010
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"The Messiah [..] is the source of all religious art". This statement, which we find in Cohen’s "Über den ästhetischen Wert unserer religiösen Bildung", seems to not be consistent with the whole of Cohen’s aesthetics. In order to explain this statement and Cohen’s perspective about messianism in art, in this paper the Author examines Cohen’s reflections about this topic in his main works about art and religion, and maintains that the goal of this statement is to underline a difference between Jewish and Christian religious art. Finally, the Author offers a short examination of some 20th and 21st century artworks that can be compared to Cohen’s view about messianism in art: namely, Chagall’s crucifixions, Mahler’s 4th Symphony, and Pistoletto’s Terzo paradiso.

Keywords: Aesthetics, Marc Chagall, Hermann Cohen, Gustav Mahler, Messianism, Michelangelo Pistoletto

  1. Cohen H. (1889). Kants Begründung der Ästhetik. Berlin: Dümmler (anastatic reprint as Cohen, 1977 ff., vol. 3).
  2. Cohen H. (1901). Der Stil der Propheten. In: Cohen (1924, vol. 1: 262-283); the volume of Cohen (1977-.) that should include this essay hasn’t been published yet.
  3. Cohen H. (1905-06). Mozarts Operntexte: Zur 150. Wiederkehr seines Geburtstages. Frankfurter Zeitung, 31.12.1905, 3.01.1906 and 4.01.1906. In: Cohen (1928, vol. 1: 490-519). References are to the edition in Cohen (1928).
  4. Cohen H. (1911-12). Über den ästhetischen Wert unserer religiösen Bildung. In: Cohen (1924, vol. 1: 211-236); now also in: Cohen (1977 ff., vol. 16: 199-235). For every reference to this essay, the page number of Cohen (1977 ff., vol. 16) will be given firstly; I also give the page number of the edition in: Cohen (1924, vol. 1); this page number will be preceded by the letter “J”.
  5. Cohen H. (1912). Ästhetik des reinen Gefühls, 2 vols. Berlin: Cassirer (anastatic reprint as Cohen, 1977 ff., vols. 8-9).
  6. Cohen H. (1914). Die Lyrik der Psalmen. In: Cohen (1924, vol. 1: 237-261); now also in Cohen (1977 ff., vol. 16: 163-198).
  7. Cohen H. (1915a). Der Begriff der Religion im System der Philosophie. Giessen: Töpelmann (anastatic reprint as Cohen, 1977 ff., vol. 10).
  8. Cohen H. (1915b). Die dramatische Idee in Mozarts Operntexten. Berlin: Cassirer. Now in: Cohen (1977 ff., vol. 17: 1-108). References are to the edition in Cohen (1977 ff.).
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  13. Gamba E. (2009). Tu non ti farai un’immagine. Il problema della raffigurazione del divino nell’estetica di Hermann Cohen, Trepuzzi: Publigrafic.
  14. Gamba E. (2010). Du sollst dir kein Bildnis machen: Das Problem der künstlerischen Darstellung des Göttlichen in Hermann Cohens Ästhetik. Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte, 62: 356-366, DOI: 10.1163/157007310793352197
  15. Holzhey H. (1986). Cohen und Natorp. 2 vols.. Basel-Stuttgart: Schwabe.
  16. Holzhey H., Motzkin G. and Wiedebach H., eds. (2000). “Religion der Vernunft aus den Quellen des Judentums”. Tradition und Ursprungsdenken in Hermann Cohens Spätwerk. Hildesheim: Olms.
  17. Mattenklott G. (2000). Zur ästhetischen Dimension der “Religion der Vernunft”. In: Holzhey H., Motzkin G. and Wiedebach H., eds. (2000): 117-127.
  18. Pistoletto M. (2010). Il Terzo paradiso. Venezia: Marsilio.
  19. Poma A. (1997). Humour in Religion: Peace and Contentment. In: Moses S. and Wiedebach H., eds. Hermann Cohen’s Philosophy of Religion. Hildesheim-Zürich-New York: Olms: 183-204. Also in: Poma (2006): 203-225.
  20. Poma A. (2000). Lyric Poetry and Prayer. In: Holzhey H., Motzkin G. and Wiedebach H., eds. (2000): 129-143. Also in: Poma (2006): 227-241.
  21. Poma A. (2006). Yearning for Form and other Essays on Hermann Cohen’s Thought. Dordrecht: Springer.

Ezio Gamba, "The source of all religious art"? Messianism and art in Cohen’s thought in "PARADIGMI" 1/2017, pp 143-155, DOI: 10.3280/PARA2017-001010