University of Muri

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The University of Muri is the fictional creation of critic and metaphysician Walter Benjamin,[1] and historian of Jewish mysticism and Philosopher Gershom Scholem. It is presumed to be located in Muri, Switzerland and though it was shut down by Benjamin and Scholem a number of times it is, or was at last report, still "open." In his essay Walter Benjamin and his Angel[2] Scholem writes, "The guardian angel of the Kabbalah from the year 1921 has become the guardian angel of the University of Muri, in whose Transactions a "philosopher" and a "kabbalist"—who in a traditional sense were neither a philosopher nor a kabbalist—made the traditional university and its scholars the object of their derision."

While a complete course offering was never really available, Scholem does report that he and Benjamin mutually agreed to put Robert Eisler in charge of a course titled, "Ladies' coats and Beach Cabanas in light of the History of Religion."[3]

Revival[edit]

The University appears to recently have been revived by unknown persons, and is currently supporting fellowships, including Muhammed Asad,[4] Fernando Pessoa and Hannah Arendt.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The bulk of the information for this imaginary institution comes from the book edited by Gershom Scholem called "Walter Benjamin: The story of a Friendship." The longest sustained discussion of the topic is on pg.58. [The first book is the 1980 Schocken edition, the second is the 1981 JPS edition.]
  2. ^ "Walter Benjamin and his Angel" is an essay in the collection by Gerschom Scholem called "Jews and Judaism in Crisis," Schocken Books, 1976, p.212.
  3. ^ Scholem, Gershom, "From Berlin to Jerusalem: Memories of my youth," p. 129.
  4. ^ http://www.steirischerherbst.at/2012/deutsch/presse/presse_download/sh12_RebrandingEuropeanMuslims_en.pdf
  5. ^ http://vimeo.com/45388072