KAFKA'S PANTHER AND RABBI NACHMAN'S TURKEY Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • The parable of Kafka's short story "A Hunger Artist" has defied interpretation. This essay suggests this is less problematic if we place Kafka's writing within a Jewish hermeneutic model, such as the parables of Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, and consider the effect on interpretation of the spiritual and historical crisis of modernity. The parable of the parable is not that there is no meaning in the text, but that the keys to meaning may have been lost. The alienated, assimilated Jew standing at the gate of the Law finds the gate to meaning and to redemption closing. Redemption does not come through interpretation, as in Rabbi Nachman's stories, but comes too late.

publication date

  • January 1, 2004