Franz Rosenzweig and the last silence

On the last day of his life, Franz Rosenzweig (The Star of Redemption) tried to communicate a certain last thought.

By Lars Schall

‚The more you know, the less you talk. The less you talk, the more you know.‘ – Mokokoma Mokhonoana

Franz Rosenzweig (1886-1929), author of the important book, The Star of Redemption, suffered increasingly from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis from 1922 onwards – which meant that he lost bit by bit the ability to move and speak. In order to be able to still communicate, Rosenzweig was forced to develop a laborious typewriter alphabet method.

On the last day of his life, Rosenzweig made an attempt to record a particular last thought by means of his method. The first partial sentence consisted of the words, „And now it comes, the point of all points, which the Lord has truly revealed to me in my sleep, the point of all points for which there—“. Rosenzweig’s doctor interrupted the writing process at this point. Rosenzweig had to communicate with the doctor by the laborious method. After the doctor left, Rosenzweig did not wish to continue writing; the sentence he had begun remained unfinished, and Rosenzweig died in Frankfurt am Main on the night of December 10, 1929. (1)

(1) Cf. Nahum N. Glatzer: Franz Rosenzweig – His Life and Thought. Schocken Books, 1961 (2nd Edition), pp. 174-176. 
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