Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Hannah Arendt, one of the most important political thinkers of the twentieth century, passed away before finishing her final statement on politics. Because her political theory is incomplete, scholars have adopted many means for interpreting her work. In this dissertation, I adopt a phenomenological approach to understanding Arendt by engaging with the phenomenological method Arendt, herself, used—narrative. I specifically employ the Passover narrative as a metaphorical framework alongside which Arendt’s political theory is traced. In this approach, four elements of Arendt’s theory emerge to distinguish her thought from the Western political tradition: the role of the mental activities, the definition of action, the space of appearance, and the concept of freedom. As Arendt separates herself from her European influences, such as Heidegger, Jaspers, Kant, and Nietzsche, the Jewish aspects of her work begin to come into focus. For each of the elements, the distinct influence of Arendt’s Jewish experiences is expounded. Drawing from the mystical and orthodox traditions of Judaism, novel and intriguing insights into Arendt’s work are discovered. In the end, Arendt leaves us with a theory of politics that is possibly grounded in a concept of love that is both humanist and Jewish.
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Richard, Jennifer, "Revealing the Jewishness of Hannah Arendt" (2014). LSU Doctoral Dissertations. 2845.