Will Herberg — 1950s Jewish PomoCon?

February 24, 2009

“Our post-modern generation is beginning to understand this.  It is beginning to see that in the process of establishing his autonomy and gaining mastery over the instruments of living, Western man has managed to lose his grasp of the meaning of life, his control over the dark destructive forces within himself and society.  In gaining — or rather in trying to gain — the world, he has come very close to losing his soul.”

And, leading up to a proclamation of “the essential homelessness of man”:

“We stand confounded, perplexed, consumed with anxiety.  Everything has become problematical, everything has turned into meaninglessness, absurdity, nothingness.  But that everything is our existence, our very life.

“What does it all signify?  It signifies that, deceive himself as he may, man is never entirely at home in the natural universe of which he is part — and he knows it.”

Judaism and Modern Man, pgs. 8 and 15, respectively

Just sayin’.  His definition of “post-modern” is awfully similar to how PomoCo wants to define it.  And you should see him talk about contemporary–albeit to the 50s–psychiatry: if Tom More had the same occasionally over-the-top syntax and diction, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear it in a Louisiana accent.

Admittedly, I’m not that far into the book, but at the rate I’m making margin notes referring to Lawler, Percy, etc., I’m inclined to thing there’s some sympathy — if nothing else — there.

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One Response to “Will Herberg — 1950s Jewish PomoCon?”


  1. Looks like an affinity.

    If you can tease out the connections in their respective intellectual genealogies, I’d love to know. Because “man is never entirely at home in the natural universe of which he is part — and he knows it” sounds exactly like Lawler.


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