Gutkind, Erik

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Gutkind, Erik

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9 February 1877


(from Wikipedia entry)

Eric Gutkind (also: Erich) (9 February 1877 – 26 August 1965) was a German Jewish philosopher, born in Berlin.His parents were Hermann Gutkind and Elise Weinberg (1852–1942).

Eric Gutkind was born in Berlin and educated at the Humanistic Gymnasium and the University of Berlin. He studied anthropology with J. J. Bachofen, and also worked in philosophy, mathematics, the sciences and the history of art. Starting with a vision of history having something in common with ancient Gnosticism, he became increasingly interested in Jewish philosophy and formulated his ideas in terms of concepts drawn from the Kabbala.

Eric Gutkind belonged to a pacificist-mystical circle of European intellectuals which at different points included Walter Benjamin, Martin Buber, L. E. J. Brouwer, Henri Borel, Frederik van Eeden, Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Oppenheimer, Walter Rathenau, Romain Roland, Upton Sinclair and Rabindranath Tagore.

In 1910, he published the book "Siderische Geburt - Seraphische Wanderung vom Tode der Welt zur Taufe der Tat" (Sideric birth - seraphic peregrenation from the death of the world to the baptism of action) under the pseudonym Volker. This book served as a focal point for the pacifist-mystical circle and later became the philosophical manifesto for the New Europe Groups organized in London in the 1920s by the Yugoslavian teacher Dimitrije Mitrinović, which attracted such men as Sir Patrick Geddes, Sir Frederick Soddy and John Cowper Powys. Dimitrije Mitrinović and Gutkind published a number of articles in the literary magazine The New Age.

His second book, The Absolute Collective, published in London in 1937, was hailed by Henry Miller as "true in the highest sense, entirely on the side of life."

When he came to the United States in 1933 and began teaching at the New School and the College of the City of New York, Eric Gutkind already had an influential following. This third book, Choose Life, published in the United States in 1952, was a reinterpretation of traditional Judaism which drew to his lectures many students dissatisfied with both liberalism and orthodoxy and looking for something more concrete and dynamic than both. Gutkind sent a copy of his book "Choose Life: The Biblical Call To Revolt" to Albert Einstein in 1954. Einstein sent him a letter in response. This letter was sold at an auction for $404,000 in 2008, then for $3,000,100.00 via eBay in 2012 to an unknown buyer.

He died in Chatauqua, New York, on August 26, 1965.

For more information, see Wikipedia entry at: .


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Welby, Victoria, Lady, 1837-1912 (1837-1912)

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Created 2015-10-28 by Anna St.Onge.


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