The holocaust, the systematic extermination of six million European Jews – a third of the world's Jewish population at that time – by the German Government between 1933 and 1945, has had an understandably profound impact on the meaning and purpose of Jewish identity in the post-holocaust world. Central to the identity of traditionally religious Jews is the theological conception that God is of, or in, history and the notion that Jews are particular witnesses to that God. Thus, a natural response and reaction to the holocaust would seem to be the wonderment of religious Jews about the condition of both the God in history and of their particular witness. The object of this paper is to look at three leading post-holocaust Jewish theologians – Emil Fackenheim, Elizer Berkovits, and Richard Rubenstein – who confront these reactions, and who address not only the Jewish faith, but what it means to be Jewish after the holocaust. Within this thesis, I have tried to express how each author addresses how the ideologies and identities of Jews were affected by the holocaust and what their conception of what being Jewish is after the holocaust. While Fackenheim is the only one to touch open secular Jews, and really only in the way that they are related to religious Jews, all three address their conceptions of Jewish faith and the particularness of Jews and how that transformed, or didn't transform, because of the Holocaust.


Religious Studies

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2007 Tomas Gold