Rosenzweig and Original Sin
To the Editor:
In his letter on “Jewish Existentialism” (April 1953) Rabbi Milton H. Elefant finds it “amazing” that Franz Rosenzweig accepted “the thoroughly Christian and, from the Jewish point of view, utterly untenable theological position of the fallen state” of man, i.e., Original Sin.
May I point out quite categorically that Rosenzweig’s concept of Judaism does not include the doctrine of Original Sin. There is nothing in Rosenzweig’s teaching that could be interpreted as being based on, or being a variation of, the idea of Original Sin.
It became a custom among Jewish existentialist writers to quote Rosenzweig. That is their privilege. But Rosenzweig should be allowed to speak for himself. Before a critic dismisses an idea which he attributes to Rosenzweig as an “utterly untenable theological position from the Jewish point of view,” he is expected to examine the source.
Nahum N. Glatzer