Features June 2023
Emperor of chaos
On Professor of Apocalypse: The Many Lives of Jacob Taubes by Jerry Z. Muller.
Jacob Taubes probably knew as many famous intellectuals as there were roaches in his filthy New York apartment. To list them all (the intellectuals, not the roaches) would take up this whole article, but they include Leo Strauss, Gershom Scholem, Hannah Arendt, Susan Sontag, Herbert Marcuse, Martin Buber, Jürgen Habermas, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Rudi Dutschke, Irving Kristol, Gertrude Himmelfarb, Carl Schmitt, and Jacques Derrida. The historian Jerry Z. Muller, who displays a rare ability to explain a thinker’s key ideas briefly and clearly, provides thumbnail sketches of many of these figures, and so his magnificent book about Taubes, Professor of Apocalypse, doubles as a guide to mid-twentieth-century European and American thought.1...
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