Judaica Online Exhibitions

Nature between Science and Religion:
Jewish Culture and the Natural World

A Penn Libraries Exhibit by the 2017-18 fellows of the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania
Julia Watts Belser
The Deluge: Imagining the Generation of the Flood

In his acclaimed lithograph, “The Deluge,” the French artist and engraver Gustave Doré (1832-1883) imagines a scene from the Flood. Taking refuge atop a protruding rock, a mother tigress shelters her kits from the raging waters, while four human children are precariously balanced beside her. From below, two figures who are half submerged in the waves reach up toward the rock, straining to touch one of the children, who looks poised to fall into the water. In the foreground, a sunken man lifts a smaller body out of the waves; that figure no longer struggles, perhaps already drowned. Birds fly overhead, a serene counterpoint to the pathos below.

An image drawn from Doré’s acclaimed illustration of the English Bible (1866), “The Deluge” portrays the agonies of the Flood. While Doré himself was not Jewish, examining his lithograph alongside ancient Jewish sources reveals a striking shared engagement with the affective dimensions of divine destruction, a willingness to grapple with violence and loss. In Bavli Sanhedrin 108b, the Babylonian Talmud’s longest discussion of the flood, the rabbis grapple forthrightly with human and animal pain. Consider the raven, the bird that Noah first sends out to scout the land to see if the flood waters have subsided. It is a dangerous assignment. In the Talmud’s telling, the raven protests. While seven pairs of kosher animal species were present on the ark, the raven was one of a single pair. “If the prince of heat or the prince of cold strikes me,” the raven asks, “will not the world be lacking a creature?” This is, according to the Talmud, an irrefutable argument. Noah has failed to protect the raven from danger, to guard against the threat of extinction.

While the biblical text imagines Noah as a “righteous man” who “found favor with God” (Genesis 6:9), Jewish tradition offers a more ambivalent, even critical portrait. A passage in the Zohar (Midrash ha-ne’elam) imagines Noah emerging from the ark, weeping when he sees the devastation of the flood. When Noah asks God why God had no compassion on the creatures, God responds, “Now you plead on their behalf? I lingered with you and spoke to you at length so that you would ask for mercy for the world. But as soon as you heard that you would be safe in the ark, the evil of the world did not touch your heart. You built the ark and saved yourself.”

While generations of writers and artists have been captivated by the ark and the survivors, my heart is with the lost and left behind, the ones who drowned. I find in Doré’s image a haunting reminder of the violence that reigns outside that tiny floating sanctuary—as well as a call to strive not simply for personal sanctuary, but for a world where all of us survive.

Eyal Ben-Eliyahu
Mapping the World and its Avoidance in Rabbinic Literature

The Ptolemaic map of the world is based on the detailed geographical description in Ptolemy's book Geography, written in Alexandria in the second century CE.

Extant maps that rely on this description are from the medieval period. As in the Bunting clover leaf map, published in Germany in 1581, the Ptolemaic map divided the world into three continents: Asia, Europe and Africa. This division was first depicted in Ionia at Asia Minor in the mid-first millennium BCE, and is known as the Ionian map of the world.

Jewish texts from the Second Temple period, such as Jubilees and Josephus, adopted this model but with several changes. For example, they transferred the center of the world from Delphi in the Graeco-Roman maps to Jerusalem.

In contrast to the Ionian map, a world map carved into a clay table from Babylon reflects a markedly different perception of the world. This map depicts a large land mass surrounded by water, without the division into three continents.

A survey of rabbinic literature reveals no mention of the division of the world into three continents. This contrasts with the earlier Jewish Hellenistic tradition and contemporary Roman geography. Rabbinic texts avoided the topic of world geography as well as the reduction in mentions of distant Jewish communities.

I would like to suggest that this absence reflects the inward turn in the Jewish world that is characteristic of rabbinic literature. This inward-looking orientation was a political result of the Bar Kokhba revolt.

Julie Chajes
American Spiritualism under Scrutiny: the Seybert Commission Archive

Spiritualism became very popular in America in the 1850s and continued to be influential for decades afterwards. Although there were certain commonalities, Spiritualists did not share any particular theology. The only thing they had in common was the belief that it was possible to communicate with the spirits of the deceased through mediums (people who claimed to be able to communicate with the dead). This took place at seances, in which various techniques were used, such as the spirit supposedly speaking through the medium, or the medium writing the spirit's words on slates in answer to queries from those attending the seance.

Henry Seybert (1801-1883) was a Spiritualist who endowed a chair in philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania on the condition that the university set up a commission to investigate Spiritualism. A year after Seybert's death the commission was established. It consisted mostly of University of Pennsylvania scientists and operated for two years. Among other things, the commission investigated Spiritualist slate writing and mediums who claimed to be able to answer questions sealed in envelopes by consulting the spirits.

In the photographs, you can see a question written by one of the members of the Seybert Commission, the Shakespearean scholar Horace Howard Furness (1833-1912). He asks, "What was the name of the owner of this skull here in my library?" The reply, written on the ourside of the envelope and received from a spirit called John King, was that it was the skull of Hannah Moore, who died in 1835, probably a reference to the English playwright and philanthropist (1745-1833). Another photo shows the red seals of the envelope, which are intact. (The letter was opened with a paper knife.) In the other two pictures you can see slates that were used in the testing of the mediums. On one is a question that was asked by the investigator and on the other the the reply given by the medium.

The members of the commission signed a preliminary report in 1887 in which they concluded that fraud had been used in nearly every case they had tested. In addition to the materials I have noted here, the Seybert Commission archive includes a very large number of letters and documents. It provides a fascinating snapshot of American Spiritualism in the late-nineteenth century.

Yossi Chajes
Tuvia Goes to Holywood to Show that the Earth is Round

Tuvia (or Tobias) ha-Kohen (Metz, 1652-Jerusalem, 1729) authored Ma'aseh Tuvia (first ed. Venice 1707). Although primarily remembered as a work written to bring "modern" medicine to Jews without access to learned practitioners, Tuvia's tome was, in fact, a feast of polymathic proportions. Its readers were exposed to a panoramic survey of the natural world, frequently enhanced by scientific images that ranged from anatomy to astronomy.

An oft-reproduced image in Tuvia's worka demonstration that the world is roundshows a globe on the perimeter of which may be seen a large building and a ship connected by lines.

Tuvia's image (as well as its accompanying text) is based on one found in the influential De Sphaera Mundi of John Holywood, better known as Johannes de Sacrobosco (perhaps the 1550 edition). It is also possible that he used a derivative work that included the same image and explanation, such as Positiones suas physioastronomicas de sphaera coelesti, published in Napoli in 1682.

Yulia Egorova
Genetics and Jewish Identity

Anthropological research on the concept of genomic sovereignty shows how the field of what has come to be known as 'Jewish genetics' tends to construct Jewishness as a biological category. By focusing on geneticists' and tests participants' narratives about community-level genomic mapping initiatives and ancestry tests, genetic research emerges here as an endeavour to achieve genomic sovereignty born out of relationally subaltern self-perceptions and concerns about inequality.

While at first glance DNA testing used in the search for social and political recognition of different Jewish groups appears to be the 'weapon of the weak,' which could allow disenfranchised groups to subvert political and epistemological regimes privileging naturalist accounts of group membership, it should instead be theorized as a tool of subordination and control that is imposed upon these groups by those in positon of political and economic power in the fields of contestation in question.

Yitzhaq Feder
Between Disease and Symbol: Conceptualizations of Impurity

The biblical book of Leviticus dedicates two detailed chapters (13 and 14) to a skin disease called tṣara‛at. A person suspected of having this disease was required to consult a priest (kohen) who would determine based on the symptoms whether the person was “impure” or “pure.” If the former, the patient was isolated from the camp: “As for the person with a leprous affection, his clothes shall be rent, his head shall be left bare, and he shall cover over his upper lip; and he shall call out, “Unclean! Unclean!” He shall be unclean as long as the disease is on him. Being unclean, he shall dwell apart; his dwelling shall be outside the camp” (Lev 13:45–46; NJPS translation). These verses describe a practice of quarantine, which would constitute a necessary response to the threat of infectious disease. As a matter of fact, the textual record from ancient Syria from the early second millennium BCE attests to an awareness of the infectiousness of disease and the implementation of quarantine practices.

In modern research, hundreds of articles have been devoted to the question of whether this biblical disease should be identified with what is known today as “leprosy” (Hansen’s Disease). Some scholars have adamantly denied this identification, claiming that the symptoms of the biblical disease match no known disease, hence it is imaginary or symbolic, arguing further that the terminology of pure/ impure suggests a ‘religious’ rather than ‘medical’ diagnosis. In general, the pursuit of a retroactive diagnosis of historical diseases is a problematic enterprise, as it attempts to apply laboratory definitions of disease, available only for the past two centuries, to periods before they existed. More importantly, anachronistic approaches to ancient disease incumber understanding how disease was perceived and experienced in the pre-modern world.

How was the infectiousness of disease conceptualized before the emergence of germ theory? Here it seems that notions of pollution played a key role. Accordingly, the idea of impurity was closer to everyday experience, hence more ‘natural,’ than supernatural.

Gad Freudenthal
The Metamorphoses of a Medieval Book of (Ps.-) Science for the Dummies

In 1245/7 a certain Gossuin (or Gauthier) of Metz compiled two versions (one in rhymes, the second in prose) of a work he entitled Image du monde (Image of the World). It was a work of "scientific vulgarization," written to the attention of the emerging town bourgeoisie and accordingly its prose version was in French. The work, which combines haphazard factual pieces of information and fantastic accounts, was highly popular in the following centuries (nearly one hundred manuscripts are extant) and it was printed very early.
fig. 1: A manuscript of the verse version of the work (copied ca. 1400).

Nothing is known of any Jewish acquaintance with the Image du monde until, out of the blue, an abbreviated Yiddish version appears in print in 1718/9 under the title Sēfer yedîʿat ʿôlām (reprinted: Altona, 1727/8). To this day, the translator/redactor remains anonymous.
fig 2: Title page of the editio princeps of the Yiddish version.

Just a little later, in 1733, a Hebrew version, with the title Tsel ha-‘olam, was printed in Amsterdam. (Tsel [= shadow] is apparently a corruption of tselem, meaning “form,” “image.”) This version is much longer than the Yiddish, but nonetheless far from being a full translation of the prose version of Image du monde (which was its source-text). Only two Hebrew manuscripts of the work are known, both from the 16th century. The title page of the print edition (but not the manuscripts) ascribes the book to Matityahu Delacrat (or Delacraut), an astronomer and Kabbalist who, after having studied in Italy, lived in Poland in the middle of the sixteenth century. The exact nature of his contribution to this text is still under investigation.
fig 3: Title page of the 1733 editio princeps of the Hebrew version.

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the book was reprinted (with interpolations) at least 11 more times. Mendele Mocher Sforim (1836-1917) makes the hero of his Travels and Adventures of Benjamin the Third read it with amazement: readers then had a predilection for the marvelous and wondrous and this drew them to the 600-year-old book. (Possibly the much more serious Sefer ha-Berit by Rabbi Pinchas Elijah Hurwitz [1797] satisfied a similar need.)
fig. 4: Title page of the Munkacz printing of Tsel ha-‘olam (1897).

Robert Juette
Medical Polemics: Isaac Cardoso's Las Excelencias de los Hebreos

p. 346, including a passage on haemorrhoids
[Amsterdam : Impresso en casa de David de Castro Tartas, 1679]

Isaac Cardoso (b. 1603 or 1604-d. 1683), whose parents were marranos, studied medicine, philosophy, and natural sciences at Salamanca and became chief physician (physico mor) in Madrid. In 1635 he left Spain and went to Venice where he changed his Christian name to “Isaac”. In his work Las Excelencias de los Hebreos he refutes many “calunias” (calumnies) brought against Jews; viz., the claim that Jewish males menstruated by means of haemorrhoids. Cardoso does this by telling an autobiographical anecdote. The Spanish physician Juan de Quiñones de Benavente who had claimed that Jewish men are subject to menstrual periods, had been his patient while he was chief physician in Madrid. Cardoso reports, “Within a very short time he developed haemorrhoids in certain parts, so great and huge, and accompanied by blood and pain, that they actually seem tail-like. In the company of a surgeon I then said to him: ‘Your honour must also be liable in the sin of that death [i. e. of Christ], for we see in you the same affliction, and just as you have written that the Jews have a tail and blood, you too have the same’.”

Daniel Langton
Darwin and his Jewish Readers: Naphtali Levy's Toldot Adam [The Origins of Man]

Naphtali Levy (1840-94) has an important place in our story since he is that rare thing, an ostensibly orthodox Jewish thinker enamoured of Darwin, and since he was the first to translate excerpts from Darwin’s writings into Hebrew in his study Toldot Adam [The Origins of Man] (Vienna: Spitzer & Holzwarth, 1874), 60pp..

Born in Kolo, Poland, Levy was the son of a dayyan or religious judge and received a traditional religious education (with teachers including Meir Auerbach, who was later the first Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Jerusalem) until he moved to Posen for secular studies in science and modern languages, when he became interested in the Haskalah or Jewish Enlightenment. From 1860-67 he earned his living as a tutor for a wealthy family and as a merchant in Radom, Poland, and it was while there that he wrote Toldot Adam, originally publishing it in the Haskalah journal Ha-Shachar (The Dawn) in 1874. In 1877 he moved to London where, after unsuccessful careers as a newspaper editor and as a boot manufacturer, he was appointed as shochet or ritual slaughterer for the London Board of Shekhita, a position which he held until his retirement in 1892. He wrote other works on halakhic matters, but never again on science.

In any examination of the 34 year-old Levy’s six-chapter, sixty-page book on Darwinism, one should bear in mind that it was not a sombre, systematic treatment, but was exuberant in style and highly apologetic in nature. The author had had an exciting new world opened up to him through reading The Origin of Species in German translationthree editions of which existed by that time, by Bronn (1860, 1863) and by Bronn and J. V. Carus (1867)and had come to the realization that this revelation of the underlying reality of the natural world could be reconciled with his religious tradition. He was therefore evangelical in seeking to communicate this precious realization to the perplexed of his generation, who were confused by the claims and counter claims of the religion and science debate. In his study, which incorporated around ten short translations from Darwin’s writings, Levy’s core message was that the Torah and rabbinic traditions actually contained within them the theory of transmutation of forms, the sages having intuited the scientific truths that Darwin, Haeckel and others had uncovered in their painstaking researches in the nineteenth century.

The main focus of Toldot Adam is to be found in the fourth and fifth chapters in which were presented the key challenges to received religious tradition. Here Levy outlined how all of life was connected through evolution, from plants to animals to humans. This was hinted at in rabbinic texts such as Midrash Rabbah 11 (‘Everything that was created in the six days of creation needs to have something done to it; even man needs improvement’). It was even more clearly indicated by biblical texts such as Genesis 2:6 (‘there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground’), which taught that the plant life that carpeted the planet had, through its metabolic use of carbon dioxide, oxygen, and nitrogen, made possible the evolution of animals and humans. More than any pious motivation to bring glory to the Creator, it appeared that it was the new scientific awareness of the explanatory power of natural laws that caught Levy’s imagination. For example, in discussing the emergence of hominids, he portrayed natural selection as a natural force working in harmony with the divine will to improve the stock of humanity. God’s contribution was indirect or even secondary, in that He was understood to have changed the environment in which humans were located and this migration, according to evolutionary theory, allowed natural selection to generate new adaptations. (According to Levy’s reading of Genesis 2:8 [‘and God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed’], God had formed man in the west and later moved him east to Eden.)

It would be mistaken to see the young Levy as a traditionalist offering nothing more than an evolutionary midrash. At times he offered speculations uncharacteristic of one espousing an Orthodox religious worldview. For example, in contrast to other Jewish evolutionists who rejected the apparent cruelty and chance of natural selection, Levy’s God reigned over a natural world undeniably shaped by the darwinian ‘struggle for existence’; in fact it was from this suffering that morality could evolve. And he occasionally let slip, writing of Nature’s command ‘Let there be light!’ and even suggesting that the image of an ape-like hominid was a more accurate portrayal of the first man than was the biblical claim of divine likeness. In a short appendix, Levy also discussed the future evolution of mankind, expressing the hope that one day man would no longer die, and even the possibility that there would arise other creatures, higher still on the ladder of life than humans.

He continued to write, but never again on the subject of evolution; other publications included a miscellaneous collection entitled Hikre Kadmoniyot (Researches in Antiquity, 1862), an exposition of the laws relating to the fifth commandment, Hilkhot Kibbud Av va-Em (Laws Honouring Parents, 1883), dissertations on legal and homiletic subjects entitled Kadesh Naftali (Naphtali’s Sacred Things, 1891), and Nakhalat Naftali (Naphtali’s Inheritance, 1892), which included an historical account of rabbis in England in the pre-Expulsion period and which listed the Chief Rabbi of Berlin, Israel Hildesheimer, among those authorizing and approving the work. In his final years he moved away from London to Southport for reasons of health and helped establish an Orthodox congregation there.

Agata Paluch
Warding Off Evil and Illness: An Oriental Hebrew Amulet

In the premodern world, magical and practical kabbalistic material abounds in various, sometimes unexpected formats. Individual recipes and formulas may be found in virtually any handwritten codex, from the Talmudic and calendrical, to the mathematical, poetical, and liturgical, and found as marginal notes, added inscriptions on flyleaves or title-pages, and appendices. In a more consistent manner, practical manuals of various lengths appear in multiple-text volumes, which alongside various recipes compile theosophical-speculative kabbalistic treatises or fragments thereof. There exists a great number of self-contained books comprising solely of recipes and practical advice, both of kabbalistic and non-kabbalistic character—among the latter category, the how-to books of remedial and dietary advice prevail.

Apart from recipes and formulas extant in the independent medieval and early modern codices, a number of amulets as finished products—that is written for a specific person or persons—have been preserved. One such artefact, an amulet written in a late Oriental script, is now held by the Library at the Katz Center. It was written for Rivkah bat Miriam, whose name is inserted in the protective formula at the top of the amulet. The amulet was intended to safeguard its owner from evil and illness. Since in the premodern world at least some of the causes of maladies were thought to originate in the supernatural realm, so were the measures taken to prevent and heal those medical conditions. The format of the amulet is quite standard, consisting of formulas which employ various constellations of divine and angelic names familiar from the Jewish magical and practical kabbalistic writings, such 72- and 42-letter divine name. The side panels which surround the main body of the amulet feature a series of angelic names. The top panel features three angelic names Senoy, Sansenoy, Semangelof enclosed within three bird-like shapes, a graphic element well-known from the printed edition of Sefer Raziel (Amsterdam, 1701).

Pavel Sladek
Charting the Heavens: Jews and Astronomy

A group of Hebrew manuscripts produced between the 1550s and 1630s attests to the interest in astronomy of a small but significant circle of early modern Ashkenazi scholars spanning several generations. The manuscript evidence shows that they worked with a coherent corpus of texts which were copied and commented upon in a cumulative way. Some major figures such as R. Moses Isserles as well as some lesser known scholars such as Mattatiah Delacrut, Manoah Handel ben Shemariah, and Hayyim Lisker were part of this circle. The existence of these Hebrew manuscripts has been known to scholars, however, their content was usually dismissed as unoriginal. Upon closer inspection, and in the context of the general history of science, they tell a different story. MS UPenn LJS 498 from the Lawrence J. Schoenberg Collection, a miscellany of astronomical texts, belongs to this family of manuscripts and speaks to these issues.

LJS 498 contains the medieval Sephardic scholar Abraham bar Hiyyaʼs Tsurat ha-arets and other astronomical and calendrical texts, including a treatise on the astrolabe. Bar Hiyyaʼs work, composed four hundred years earlier, was still deemed relevant by sixteenth-century scholars. The Hebraists Sebastian Münster and Erasmus Oswald Scheckenfuchs translated and published parts of it in Latin (Basle 1547). The presence of glosses of Manoah Handel ben Shemaria as well as the similarity of the diagrams connects MS UPenn LJS 498 with parts of another member of the group today found at Oxford University, MS Bodleian Library Opp. 696. A comparison of the two shows that the origin of some of the diagrams is in the Wittenberg edition of Peurbachʼs Theorica (1542). Opp. 696 features even the Latin captions, which are omitted in LJS 498. It is likely, then, that LJS 498 was copied from Opp. 969.

The generic features of this family of manuscripts, of which other members can be found in Oxford, Paris or Moscow, point to a shared interest in astronomy, calendrical issues and chronology, rather than to the exceptional interest of a few, unconnected individuals. The repeated presence of astrolabe charts accompanied by how-to manuals attests to their widespread interest in and involvement with astronomic observations. Their awareness of the 1542 edition of Peurbach is also important. Noel Swerdlow characterized Peurbachʼs Theoricae novae planetarum as “the principal textbook of planetary theory in Copernicusʼs time.” Moreover, the Wittenberg edition contained a commentary by Erasmus Reinhold, who was acquainted with Copernicusʼs heliocentric theory even before the publication of De Revolutionibus in 1543.

As material texts, the empty spaces in the manuscripts and otherwise unfinished drafts indicate occasional failed attempts to integrate the sophisticated diagrams into the text. The diagrams were deemed both essential and difficult to obtain. For these Ashkenazi Jewish students of astronomy, these drawings reflected an impulse to connect with their Christian counterparts. R. Moses Isserles promised the readers of his Hebrew commentary on Peurbach that “an intelligent man who already knows something of this discipline can study and understand his commentary in its entirety on his own, especially if he has at his disposal the diagrams found in the Latin/Christian Theorica,“ which he states is “widespread among them (i.e. the Christians)….” Special attachments containing astronomic diagrams and charts, sometimes with moving parts attached with thread, are then yet another common feature of our Hebrew manuscripts (present both in MS Opp. 696 and MS UPenn LJS 498), analogous to Christian book culture of the period, and attested by a Latin manuscript also found in the Schoenberg Collection, namely, MS UPenn LJS 64, which contains a beautifully designed set of illustrations to Peurbachʼs Theoricae.

Sacha Stern
Calendar Controversies: Ms Halper 332

Cairo Genizah fragment, from a late eleventh-century book containing copies of letters written by Rav Saadya Gaon in 921-923, in Baghdad, to his former disciples in Fustat (Cairo). The letters are in Hebrew and Judeo-Arabic; but at the end of this letter (on the left), the names of the addressees are written in Arabic.

In these letters, Saadya reprimands his disciples for observing the Jewish festivals on the wrong dates. In the years when the letters were written, the Rabbanite Jews of Palestine and Iraq disagreed about the dates of the new moons and festivals. Saadya's disciples, in Egypt, were misled by the early appearance of the new moon crescent, and as the result, they sided with the Jews of Palestine. This episode illustrates the complex relationship between the religious calendar and the rhythms of nature.

Other folios of this manuscript are currently held in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, and in the Cambridge University Library.

Heidi Voskuhl
Walther Rathenau and the Second Industrial Revolution

Walther Rathenau's work and life (1867-1922) became one of the best-known exemplars of the history of emancipated Jews in Imperial Germany. His father, Emil Rathenau, had founded the centralized conglomerate Allgemeine Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft (AEG), the German General Electric Company. Walther dutifully studied engineering, and learned the ropes of big business in various subsidiaries of his father's corporation. As an adult, he continued to travel throughout Europe, South America, and Africa, and eventually succeeded his father at the helm of the German General Electric Company. He also served on numerous boards, and became one of Europe's major economic leaders. Rathenau attained the highest government office that was ever reached by a Jew in Germany by becoming Germany's first, and so far only, Jewish foreign minister. He was assassinated on the 24th June 1922, less than six months after his appointment, shot and murdered by two young right-wing former German officers.

Rathenau belonged to a small group of prominent men who raised theoretical questions about the roles of technology, engineering, industrialism in their age, often called the "Second" Industrial Revolution. He lived in close proximity not only to technology, but to the technologies of the Second Industrial Revolutionelectricity and chemical engineering. He was director and executive board member of companies in the electrical and chemical industries, and, crucially, the electrical and chemical industries played in their heyday of the Second Industrial Revolution not only a technical but also a political roleas models for society, for the state, and for politics. Rathenau was an industrialist, a social philosopher, and a statesman. His views of electrical industry and electricity as a special case of liberal industrial capitalism involved that the profound change in society through electricity and electrical engineering did not originate from the consumer, but, instead, from the producer.

Rathenau was also active in cultural, artistic, and social elite circles, and he had his own ambitions as a writer. He produced smaller articles as well as monographs, and his ambition was to talk about nothing less than the question of modernity and its origins. One larger work of his is entitled The New State. It dates from March 1919, just after the end of the Great War. He says early on "The global power of fifty years of the second German empire is gone. What pretended to be the German essence . . . has destroyed itself." Rathenau continues by claiming that the revolution will fulfill itself not overnight, and instead through a series of creations of the people. Concluding this passages, he perhaps unintentionally reproduces one of the best-know stereotypes of Germans, back then and nowadays: "In spirit and our form of life, we are as mechanized as all the other peoples. Also, we have not invented mechanization, but have acquired it with our enormous thoroughness, and then brought it to perfection" (pages 9-16).