Department of Literature of the Jewish People
Bar-Ilan University
Ramat Gan 52900

In current discussions of the problem of violence and victimhood, two tendencies can be identified as accommodating each other and originating from the theories of violence of Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida.[1] On the one hand, there is a blurring of the boundary between the executioner (perpetrator) and the victim, and, on the other hand, a blurring of the boundary between violence and nonviolence. Like the problem itself, so the path to its solution evokes a fair number of questions and leaves no one indifferent. In moving from a philosophical discourse to one that is cultural-anthropological and further, political, this problem becomes still more acute. So, for example, Giorgio Agamben arrives at the assertion—based on the arguments of Primo Levi, a Holocaust survivor, regarding the “gray zone” of the indistinguishability of guilt and guiltlessness in Auschwitz—of the reversal of roles between perpetrators and victims in a concentration camp (and further, everywhere, since he sees modern government, both totalitarian and democratic, as a concentration camp).[2] The American sociologist Randall Collins, proceeding from a theory of the intersubjective, interactive, micronetwork derivation of forms of behavior and thought, arrives at the conception of violence as an extrasystemic, subsidiary, ad hoc phenomenon in the complex of nonviolent emotions, motives, and interrelations among the members of a small group.[3] These at first glance differing approaches are united by the view that the interactive nature of violence transforms it into a joint action, and invariably makes the victims its accomplices; moreover, the very concept of complicity, key in this connection, spreads along the whole semantic spectrum from the formal aspect to a factual exchange of roles.

Primo Levi himself attempts, however unsuccessfully, to forestall attempts to transform his idea of a gray zone into the principle of the indistinguishability of the perpetrator and the victim: to place an equal sign between the murderer and his victim is immoral; this is either perverted aestheticism or malice; to equate the two roles means to ignore outright our need for justice.[4] Levi’s arguments that follow prove with all conviction the extreme empirical concreteness of violence, the unambiguousness of the separation of roles in each concrete instance, which makes totally superfluous the question of guilt or innocence, so important for Agamben, as well as the question of motives, substantive for Collins. At the same time, it is impossible to negate the fact that, both in extreme situations and in everyday life, we all have in one degree or another to take turns playing the roles of victims or those who make others into victims. The “originary thinking,” which has been developed by Eric Gans and his school of Generative Anthropology, makes it possible to avoid the muddles of paradoxes and moral problems by posing the question of the basic prerequisites of the modern discourse about violence, that is, about the dichotomy of the perpetrator and the victim: How effective is victim-centric thinking itself, the victim paradigm itself, for an understanding of contemporary reality and literature?

Violence as part of Israeli reality, with its terrorist attacks, wars, and military operations, makes a deep imprint on the works of Israeli writers, and in some instances it even serves as a meaning-making and plot-making principle. There is, however, a difference between Russophone Israeli discourse and Hebrew Israeli discourse. Hebrew discourse, since the 1970s, is constructed on an ideological model at whose basis lie ideas of pacifism and humanization of the image of the enemy as a historical double of the philosophical concept of “the other.” For the sake of literary “pacification,” “the other” is assigned the status of victim, while the Jewish-Israeli subject takes on the responsibility of the executioner, which was for so long imposed on him by the surrounding world, both enemy and friend. Moreover, the “perpetrator’s” violent gesture, whether real or imagined, is blocked thanks to the imagination of the victim: remember that you, too, were once a victim, and for this reason (on the strength of the Kantian imperative) do not become a perpetrator yourself. A double effect is thus achieved: the subject immerses himself in a victim consciousness and also blocks, insulates himself from perceiving the political present, the real victims of the present, himself and his doubles as victims. So dichotomous thinking is born: one must become (imagine oneself to be) the victim so as not to be the perpetrator. It turns out to be a dead end, since it consists symbolically of two mutually exclusive predicates: you are the perpetrator; you are the victim. Such an ambivalent statement, which does not allow the subject to take any action without incurring punishment, serves as an obvious feature of authoritarian power or hegemony manipulating its subjects through ambiguity and unpredictability, which requires this model to be considered ideological.

Russophone literature in Israel, in some sense continuing the traditions of the literature of Soviet nonconformism battling against the mechanisms of ideological and intellectual hegemony, develops a different model. It can be called anthropological due to its independence of political fashion, and is associated by Israeli elites with the right wing only owing to a misunderstanding. Its essence is to free itself from both predicates, from both parts of the perpetrator–victim dichotomy. Unlike the ideological model, it does not presuppose a fixation on victimhood or in general on an a priori division of social roles. It overcomes both colonial and postcolonial discourses, since it is not prepared to attribute the role of the center either to the subject of violence or to its object. Both discourses have been confined to a marginal role, while the generative-anthropological model brings about the demarginalization of the discourse and of the cultural mentality in general.

I shall now attempt to formalize the transition observable in contemporary literature toward what can be called the originary paradigm. The proposed scheme, based on the principles of Eric Gans’s generative anthropology, is above all structural and only to some degree historical. In order to present it, one must mention what precedes the appearance of the current victimary paradigm, then define the paradigm and develop its problematization, after which it will be possible to draw a conclusion about the possibility of a new paradigm.

In the “previctimary” paradigm (we can imagine its embodiment in traditional religious communities), the victim is perceived as a gift and as the intermediary between me and the Other.[5] The victim is not the subject of the relationship but its instrument; it is not the center but the means of movement toward the center. It is what is gifted, combining the donor and the donee. It does not have its own existence, being the medium of a symbolic exchange. The victimary paradigm comes into being in a secular worldview at the beginning of Modernity as the development and transformation of the Christian understanding of self-sacrifice. The crucified Sign, having a double spiritual-corporeal nature (embodying the structure of signified–signifier), takes the place of the crucified God who has a double nature. Designation takes the place of revelation. The integrality of the Word collapses through the act of designation. The Sign starts to be perceived as the victim and takes the place of the indivisible source, the Logos. The victim ceases to be the object of donation and becomes the object of appropriation (presumably along with the appearance of the modern concept of private property). “I” is identified with what is appropriated. If the victim is the center, then the “I” strives to merge with it (as previously with God). The Third is excluded from the relationship, and the victim becomes the primary, the given. It is no longer gifted but, on the contrary, it is that which itself bestows on the participants of the relationship their existence and name.

This paradigm, however, comes into conflict with the historical consciousness generated by the same forces that created the paradigm. If sacrificial offering is primary, then it is always already completed, which means the story is concluded, annihilated. If the sacrificial offering is the first event of the story, then it is also the last. The name is identified before the relationship; roles are allocated a priori, before the occurrence of the distribution of roles. The name of the victim precedes the event of the victimizing, which is a contradiction. For the story (and history) to exist, the relationship must precede the naming, and the scene of the relationship must precede the scene of the sacrificial offering, the subject must precede the appropriation of the object. Moreover, the appropriation itself cannot be primary: its understanding is already included in the modern paradigm of property—that is to say, the subject of the relationship must exist outside the dependence on the scene of the appropriation; it cannot be reduced solely to the desire of the object.

A new paradigm may be derived from this problematization: The scene of the relationship prior to the sacrifice is an originary scene. Naming the victim is preceded by a view that includes two agents of action, two participants in the sign-creating conflict consisting of symmetrical relations. Their roles are not yet defined, the story is open, everything is possible. The view is therefore concentrated on the process, the action that is supposed to determine roles—on the gesture of violence prior to its realization and prior to the naming of the actors. In this scene, the gesture is always not yet carried out, it is in effect as if it has been halted or aborted. It is the primary act of representation. Signification precedes the victim as an accomplished fact, and thus it is possible without this victim.

Thus, one can speak of a “Copernican” (or, more precisely, “Gansian”) change in the paradigm: it is not the representation that “revolves” around the victim; on the contrary, all the undefined subjects revolve around the unrealized gesture; the victim emerges in the act of representation along with the other participants in the scene, in a symmetrical relation to them. The incompleteness of the gesture of the other serves as the source of the idea of the incompleteness of the “I,” from which emerges the idea of the task and targeted irreversible movement toward self-realization, despite growing entropy, that is, the idea of time and history. Not being “captured,” the object avoids objectivization and remains a subject of not fully predictable relations. It is not the order of adopted names-roles but the explosion of possibilities that thus constitutes the essence of meaning formation and culture creation.[6]

Let us trace this dynamic using the example of a small group of literary texts. The change in the paradigm to be discussed below, observable in current Russophone literature in Israel, is a phenomenon that is thoroughly distinct and to a certain degree unique. Even a superficial look at the evolution of the Jewish theme in Russian literature in Russia in the 1970s and to this day exhibits continuity rather than change. Such novels as Fridrich Gorenstein’s Atonement (Искупление, 1967) and Psalom (Псалом, 1975), Yury Karabchievsky’s The Life of Aleksander Zilber (Жизнь Александра Зильбера, 1975), and Feliks Roziner’s A Certain Finkelmeyer (Некто Финкельмайер, 1981 [1975]) constitute the victim paradigm, which later also appears in Aleksander Melikhov’s novels The Plague (Чума, 2003) and Red Zion (Красный Сион, 2005), or is ironically turned inside out but not abandoned in Dmitry Bykov’s novel ZhD (ЖД, 2007), and finally is resurrected with new force in Lyudmila Ulitskaya’s Jacob’s Staircase (Лестницa Якова, 2015). The victim paradigm also holds sway in Russophone Israeli literature, beginning with Avraam Vysotsky in the 1920s–1930s[7] and up to the recent novels of Dina Rubina. The basic intellectual effort is aimed here at the creation of the myth of the conversion of the victim into a warrior in the spirit of the Jewish literary tradition of the glorification of “Spanish” Jews, the “halutzim,” or “sabras” as the founders of a new, proud, and free Jewish identity.[8] In Vysotsky’s story “First Response” (Первый ответ, 1946), a young Jew exiled from medieval Saragossa takes up arms and kills the bandits who attack him. He is echoed by Zakhar Kordovin from Rubin’s novel White Dove of Cordova (Белая голубка Кордовы, 2012), a descendant of Spanish Jews who never parts from his pistol, hoping to exact vengeance on the bandits who killed his friend. Zakhar, however, does not commit his gesture of violence but himself becomes a new victim. The dichotomous victim–warrior pair is surrounded by the heroes of the novels of David Markish (A New World for Simon Ashkenazy [Легкая жизнь Симона Ашкенази]), Anna Isakova (“Oh, That Black Moon!” [“Ах, эта черная луна!”]), Nina Voronel (Gothic Novel [Готический роман]), Daniel Kluger (Shylock’s Last Act [Последний выход Шейлока] and Musketeer [Мушкетер]), Felix Kandel (Against Heaven on Earth [Против неба на земле]), as well as Rubin’s trilogy Russian Canary (Русская канарейка).

Against the background of the dominating victim paradigm, writers stand out who have been able to overcome it and who could serve as examples of a new paradigm in which, as has already been said, an originary myth of an unrealized gesture of violence has been formulated that eliminates the dichotomy of victim and warrior. Overcoming the old paradigm and generating the new one takes place in those contexts in which focuses of the greatest strain in relations of potential victimhood emerge. This above all is the context of the historical fate of the Jewish people.

In Alex Tarn’s novel Protocols of the Elders of Zion («Протоколы сионских мудрецов»), which came out in 2003, the hero attempts to avenge the death of his wife and daughter in a terrorist attack, but the vengeance remains a fiction, a fantasy, an unrealized gesture; at the same time, the fiction becomes a reality: the literary character he invented, a special agent and hero of action movies, acquires flesh and blood. It turns out that the “conspiracy of the elders of Zion” consists in the reproduction of a originary scene in which the roles and relations of victims and warriors have not yet been determined.

Another vivid example of this same process taking place in the work of one writer is Mikhail Yudson’s novel The Ladder to the Cabinet («Лестница на шкаф»). After the biography of the author, the novel developed in two stages: the first version, which included two parts about the adventures of the hero in Russia and Germany, came out in 2003; the second version, which also included a third, Israeli, part, came out in 2013. The genre difference between the first two parts and the third part should first be noted: Russia and Germany appear as an anti-utopia, a nightmare, whereas Israel is depicted through a fantasy philosophical parable that is critical but not anti-utopian. In other words, while in the first two parts the hero is profound alienated from the political-social here-and-now and the only thing that concerns him is surviving in an impossible reality and fleeing from it, in the third part the hero goes sequentially through an ordeal by assimilating into various spheres of Israeli society, presented as a Gogolian grotesque, that is, with bewilderment but without alienation. As a result, the basic model for the hero’s socialization in a world new to him turns out to be an apprenticeship: his own former pupils from Russia, where he had once been a teacher, initiate him in his new life. This symbolizes his deminorization not only in the Israeli context but also in the context of the relationship, if only mental-psychological, to Russia.

One of the central themes in Denis Sobolev’s novel Jerusalem (Иерусалим, 2005) is the theme of violence, yet not a single one of his heroes is part of a simple victim dichotomy. The author’s thought is occupied with searching for true freedom, and thus he brings his heroes to a new level of complexity. The essence of these quests is to overcome “omnipotence,” which means to reveal the disastrous nature of any victimary or victimizational gestures, even though they are precisely what constitutes language, culture, play, politics, literature, and existence in general.

A similar intellectual construct can be revealed in Nekoda Singer’s Tickets at the Box Office (Билеты в кассе, 2006), where it acquires a much more playful, ironic, and parodic nature. The novel starts with a Jewish battalion departing from Novosibirsk Station to go to war against the “Israeli aggressor.” The train, however, does not at all take the reader to war but to the depths of memory, history, and literature. This expanded image serves as a vivid example of the basic myth mentioned above: the collective Jewish Odysseus goes to war but only so as to block his own gesture of appropriation, to return home without leaving the house, without becoming a victim, and without making victims of others.

The basic myth of the unrealized gesture of violence was embodied in the Jerusalem novels of Elizaveta Mikhailichenko and Yury Nesis A Noble Man of Jerusalem («Иерусалимский дворянин» 1997), I/e_rus.olim («И/е_рус.олим» 2004), and Preemptive Revenge («ЗЫ» 2006). In each of them one can observe the model of overcoming victimhood and heroism simultaneously, of blocking the gesture of violence or of rendering it meaningless. The frustrated heroes and warriors, the soldiers fighting mythological and political monsters suffer defeat in battle but win the war against a victim mentality. In the first of the novels mentioned, the antisemitic slogan “Jerusalem nobleman” is recoded into spiritual and intellectual aristocratism. In the second novel, depersonalizing victimhood is overcome by hyper-humanism, by radical personalism, by the paradoxical image embodied in web-based thinking, in the internet model of virtual reality in which roles and names change continuously. In the third novel, the frustrated “hero’s” unrealized gesture of violence is directed at the ideologists of contemporary victimhood. By the same token, they turn out to be vanquished in the best possible battle: the one that did not take place. In all three Jerusalem novels, acts of violence inevitably take place, as in reality itself, but they do not become an integral part of the chronotope of the heroes, even when they themselves become victims, as in the last novel. Mikhailichenko and Nesis are thus able to conceptualize the catastrophic nature of what takes place with intellectual honesty without at the same time allowing it to be reduced to dichotomous victimhood.

In Yakov Shekhter’s novel There Was No One around Me («Вокруг себя был никто» 2004), the stories of two women are woven into the narrative fabric – Lora and Tatyana, who have undergone the initiation rite of two different marginal mystical sects. Both women joined the sects voluntarily, and according to their statements the rites made them feel very spiritually uplifted. Being intelligent and educated women, they both believed for a long time that they had found true spiritual teachers, “masters,” and they did not perceive their experiences in these sects—in large part consisting of sexual relations with the “masters” and their assistants—as violence against them.

On the other hand, as though raising the issue of violence turned it on its head, the novel describes a kind of militant community, which had blossomed in Poland during the Cossack wars and stood in opposition to the “traditional position […] in relation to the surrounding world that was formulated by their founding fathers: those who start a war always lose. [. . .] The one who avoids battle wins” (Shekhter 2004: 526). The members of this community entered the war, and every last one perished. Combining this episode with the preceding ones, one can conclude that the author deconstructs the concept of violence but not entirely in the spirit of ethical humanism, since the concept of victim is deconstructed along with it. True, the narrator attempts to convince his interlocutors that true teaching is always ethical, but he is not very successful and later goes so far as to criticize himself for his incompetence.

Violence in Shekhter’s novel thus does not have a dogmatic or ideological character; rather, it develops at that primordial anthropological stage of sign creation where roles are not given a priori in the perpetrator–victim opposition (in the first case) or in the hero–victim opposition (in the second case). Just as the gesture of violence of the supposed “master” does not in itself turn its object into a victim, so also the gesture of violence of true “masters,” full of good intentions, does not achieve its goal and even, on the contrary, turns them into victims. In both cases the gesture is made meaningless, in spite of its seeming realization and even its deliberate excessiveness.

Anna Fine’s stories included in the collection Chronicles of the Third Autofada («Хроники третьей автопады» 2004) arose against the background of the second intifada, which started in 2000 and reached its apogee in 2002, when 452 Jews died at the hands of Arab terrorists in Israel. The collection, defined in the genre of chronicles, nonetheless does not make violence as such the object of representation; rather, it delves into the stage of its origination where roles are not yet fully defined. Thus, the author also blocks her gesture of appropriation in relation to the symbolic center and the main object of desire in this conflict—the place of the victim.

Thus, for example, in the story “Fly Higher Than the Sun” («Взлети выше солнца»), the originary scene is moved to the distant Soviet childhood of the narrator, where the justification for the chaotic indefiniteness of roles is blissful childhood ignorance or lack of understanding of the essence of the conflict, explained both realistically (the realities of Soviet upbringing) and psychologically (the playful nature of childhood perception). Thus, the political “self” of the present is taken out of the equation, the pain and anger and with them the unambiguity of judgments are sublimated into a series of “sketches,” plays, games, and rituals that serve as a replacement for violence and shift attention away from the victim center to the fractal multiplicity of gestures of appropriation. The narrator peers into her vis-à-vis from that point in space-time in which neither she nor they have yet become victims or perpetrators. At the same time, such a view is in no way a figure of omission, syncope, a dark spot in the discourse. On the contrary, a thoroughly distinct position of protest against violence is expressed in it, but it consists not in pacifistic rhetoric that eliminates the distinction between the sides of a conflict but rather in the philosophical-anthropological modeling of the originary scene of the conflict.

We find the same thing in the story “The Tretyakov Noodlery” («Третьяковская балдарея»), which serves as a kind of continuation or extrapolation into the future of the conflict that was presented in the story “Fly Higher than the Sun.” This miniature anti-utopia depicts Israel as blazing in a terrorist fire. Israelis have stopped fighting against terror in keeping with a certain theory according to which “if the number of suicide bombers continues to rise as it is now in a geometrical progression, then the entire population of the Palestinian Authority will have committed suicide by 2050” (Fine 2004: 85). And in order to be able to survive this, the entire population of the country takes a tranquilizer that deprives people of memory and suppresses fear. The real drama, however, develops not in the flames of explosions but on the originary scene of the conflict, in the center of which the battle for victimhood does not cease.

The first hint of this appears in the name of the narrator and heroine of the story: Mary. Her interlocutor then explains the indifference of the world to the murder of Jews: “The Christian world has always waited for the opportunity to sacrifice us. Jews to them are a collective Jesus, trudging to Golgotha for the sake of someone else’s salvation” (ibid.). This explanation, however, is replaced by another concept: “They have been competing with us for two thousand years already, but we’re still hanging on” (ibid.). Jews thus turn from victims to the competitors of Christians, and the image of Christ merges with the image of the Jewish Messiah. The Old Testament identification of Jesus is strengthened when the narrator, getting her words mixed up under the influence of the tranquilizer, calls him “Mosesiah” («Моиссея»). It is not only the place of the victim that turns out to be in question but also its identity.

The story comes to its culmination at this moment: the setting of the narration changes to a hypothetical originary scene of pure possibility, the course of history returns to the point of bifurcation, and against the background of the horrors of the anti-utopia an alternate history emerges, the choice of which depends totally on Mary. The little boy who was lost in one of the terrorist attacks and for whom she has so long been searching comes along with Mosesiah: “‘The boy is ready,’ says Mosesiah. ‘If you let him go, the bus will not fall. Then there will be no intifada. There will be no first intifada, there will be no second antifada, and there will be no tretyakov autofada either. Decide, Mary.’ I squat down, burying my nose in the child’s sunny, herbaceous hair and hug him close” (ibid.: 90). With these words the story ends, when the choice in this hypothetical point of the past is not yet made. It concludes with the iconic image of the Madonna embracing the child. This story is repeated over and over: Moses himself brings the little Messiah, and Mary always has the choice either to let him go to his self-sacrifice or not. This choice is impossible. At the same time, it is empirically obvious because it has been made multiple times in the real historical past, in countless wars, pogroms, the Holocaust, intifadas, and blood libels.

From the formal-originary point of view, however, what is essential is that the thought and imagination of the writer does everything possible to reduce real violence, which seems unavoidable, to the hypothetical stage of the possible, to choice, to the indefiniteness of the place and identity of the victim. The text born of this imagining has the features not of an ideological poster but of a philosophical parable. This is moreover a parable not so much about the conflict between Judaism and Christianity or between Israelis and Arabs as about the pre-conflict drama of defining the role of the victim. Mary’s appropriating gesture toward the boy, on the one hand, blocks the inevitable violence given in conflict, but, on the other hand, it is this that turns the scene into an icon of the Madonna and Child—if not predetermining then foretelling the choice. The problem of Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor is repeated: How would people behave if Christ appeared again? However, contrary to Dostoevsky’s parable, responsibility for making a decision is here placed on the heroes of biblical myths themselves, who are indistinguishable from the history now in the process of becoming. In this I see the essence of the mythopoeic experiment of Anna Fine, whose vision is focused on the centuries of history and victimhood in Judea, serving now as it did two thousand years ago as the originary stage of European civilization.

In conclusion, let us reformulate the question of the possibility of speaking about violence outside of victimhood. Can one write a literature about Jews in Russian outside the victim paradigm, outside the dichotomy of the victim and heroism? Too much effort has been expended in the creation of Russian and, in particular, Russian-Jewish literature for movement outside its bounds to be easy or even in principle accessible or resolved by discourse. Upon the background of this difficulty, the work being done by the most recent Russophone-Israeli literature is all the more important. As can be seen in the examples discussed above, some writers have rejected both the path of the ideology of the “new Jew” and the path of his cultural criticism inherent in twentieth century Hebrew literature. They have rejected a simplified literary sociologism and have taken the path of complex anthropological modeling within the discourse on the level of sign-generating mechanism, in a certain sense returning to the gold standard of intellectual tension and complex self-reflection characteristic of Russian literature of the nineteenth century, its “openness to the abyss.”[9]

This can be explained by a deep spiritual need to change the paradigm of self-perception and self-understanding against the background of a rapidly changing world, a need for a new historical thinking. The 1990s heralded among Russian emigrants a profound “tragic bewilderment”[10] both in view of the collapse of the Soviet empire and what followed it and in view of the cultural crisis in Israel connected with the “peace process” and with what followed that. Violence was at the center of both processes. However, the basic source of bewilderment was not the violence itself but their own complex, ambiguous, intellectually contradictory reaction to it. Being unable to reconcile humanistic ideals with reality, the feeling of cultural superiority with everyday humiliation, a national and individual self-realization with the fear of national and existential survival, Russian Israelis were forced to admit violence as one of the basic elements of culture, undesirable but inevitable, internally intrinsic to it and therefore not dependent on fashionable politics, ideologies, and philosophies. At the same time, civilizational, intellectual, and esthetic traditions required them to incorporate violence into nonviolence since they prohibited its theoretical justification within the framework of either idealistic or materialistic conceptions. And so, in literary discourse a figure was born of the aborted gesture of violence as the most adequate self-representation in the face of the reality, as a shelter and cure from the post-humanist “clinic,” from the schizophrenic disintegration of a personality and its becoming a social machine.

[Agamben 2008] — Agamben, G. Remnants of Auschwitz: The Witness and the Archive. Trans.  Daniel Heller-Roazen. New York: Zone Books, 2008.

[Agamben 2012] — Agamben, G. Homo Sacer. Что остается после Освенцима: архив и свидетель [Homo Sacer. Remnants of Auschwitz: The Witness and the Archive]. Translated by Olga Dubitskaya. Мoscow: Evropa, 2012.

[Collins 2008] — Collins, R. Violence: A Micro-Sociological Theory. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008.

[Derrida 2001] — Derrida, J. Writing and Difference. Trans. Alan Bass. London and New York: Routledge, 2001.

[Fine 2004] — Fine, A. Хроники третьей автопады [Chronicles of the Third Autofada]. Odessa: Studiia Negotsiant, 2004.

[Gans 1981] — Gans, E. The Origin of Language: A Formal Theory of Representation. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1981.

[Gans 2011] — Gans, E. A New Way of Thinking: Generative Anthropology in Religion, Philosophy, Art. Aurora: The Davies Group, 2011.

[Kagan 2004] — Kagan, M. Недоуменные мотивы в творчестве Пушкина [Bewildering Motifs in the Works of Pushkin]. In О ходе истории [On the Course of History], 593–628. Moscow: Yazyki slavianskoi kultury, 2004.

[Katsman 2016] — Katsman, R. Nostalgia for a Foreign Land: Studies in Russian-Language Literature in Israel. Series: Jews of Russia and Eastern Europe and Their Legacy. Brighton, MA: Academic Studies Press, 2016.

[Kritzler 2009] — Kritzler, E. Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean. New York: Anchor Books, 2009.

[Levi 2017] — Levi, P. The Drowned and the Saved. Translated by Raymond Rosenthal. New York: Simon and Schuster Paperbacks, 2017.

[Lotman 2000] — Lotman, Yu. Семиосфера [On the Semiosphere]. St. Petersburg: Iskusstvo, 2000.

[Moss 2000] — Moss, M. Социальные функции священного [Social Functions of the Sacred]. Translation edited by I. V. Utekhin. St. Petersburg: Evraziya, 2000.

[Pomerants 1989] — Pomerants, G. Открытость бездне. Этюды о Достоевском [Open to the Abyss. Dostoevsky Studies]. New York: Liberty, 1989.

[Shekhter 2004] — Shekhter, Y. Вокруг себя был никто [No One Was around Me]. Rostov-on-Don: Feniks, 2004.


[1] Derrida 2001: 97-192.

[2] Agamben 2008: 15-39.

[3] Collins 2008.

[4] Levi 2017: 37.

[5] Moss 2000: 15–24.

[6] See, for example, Lotman 2000.

[7] See Katsman 2016.

[8] This image wanders about the pages of world, Jewish, Israeli, and Russophone-Israeli literatures, especially beginning with the epoch of the Jewish enlightenment of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and up to Daniel Kluger’s Musketeer and Dina Rubina’s White Dove of Cordoba. We may also add here Eugen Rispart’s Die Juden Und Die Kreuzfahrer In England Unter Richard Lowenherz (1861), Ludwig Philippson’s Yakob Tirada (1867), Meir Lakhman’s Dom Aguliar (1873). One might also mention Lermontov’s tragedy The Spaniards and the Jews in Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe. A unique development of this image is that of the Jewish pirate (see Kritzler 2009).

[9] Pomerants 1989.

[10] Kagan 2004.