Stranger in a Strange Land

By George Prochnik

Stranger in a Strange Land


Stranger in a Strange Land

126 Quotes    3.9 

Taking his lead from his subject, Gershom Scholem — the 20th-century thinker who cracked open Jewish theology and history with a radical reading of Kabbalah — Prochnik combines biography and memoirs to counter our contemporary political crisis with an original and urgent rethink of Israel's future. ... He vividly conjures up Scholem's upbringing in Berlin, and brings Scholem's transformative friendship with the critic and philosopher Walter Benjamin to life with conviction. In doing so, he reveals how Scholem's frustration with Germany's bourgeois ideology during World War I led him to discover Judaism, Kabbalah, and finally Zionism as potent counter-forces to suicidal nationalism in Europe. In the 1990s, Prochnik's own years in the Holy Land brought him to question Jerusalem's stereotypical intellectual and theological constructs, and to rediscover the city as a physical place rife with nature's unruliness and fecundity. Ultimately, Prochnik suggests that a new form of ecological pluralism must now inherit the historically energizing role of Jewish thought once played by Kabbalah and Zionism.



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Quotes from Stranger in a Strange Land

Yes, Boss?'
Dorcas, the last twenty or thirty years I've been a worthless, no-good parasite.'
She yawned again. 'Everybody knows that.'
Nevermind the flattery. There comes a time in every man's life when he has to stop being sensible--a time to stand up and be counted--strike a blow for liberty--smite the wicked.'
So quit yawning, the time has come.'
She glanced down. 'Maybe I had better get dressed.

Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.

If God existed (a question concerning which Jubal maintained a meticulous intellectual neutrality) and if He desired to be worshiped (a proposition which Jubal found inherently improbable but conceivably possible in the dim light of his own ignorance), then (stipulating affirmatively both the above) it nevertheless seemed wildly unlikely to Jubal to the point of reductio ad absurdum that a God potent to shape galaxies would be titillated and swayed by the whoop-te-do nonsense the Fosterites offered Him as "worship.

Jealousy is a disease, love is a healthy condition. The immature mind often mistakes one for the other, or assumes that the greater the love, the greater the jealousy - in fact, they are almost incompatible; one emotion hardly leaves room for the other.

Being sorry won't get you into heaven. Get happy, son. Get that old spring into your step and stay on your toes.

Its very variety, subtlety, and utterly irrational, idiomatic complexity makes it possible to say things in English which simply cannot be said in any other language.

Reviews of Stranger in a Strange Land


Now, 30 years after its original publication and two years after the author's death, we have a longer edition--by 50,000 words--based on the original manuscript...Of interest to Heinlein completists and scholars, but, in cutting this version by those 50,000 words to produce the 1961 edition, the author made a good book into a great one.

Even if you don’t want to use the book to give a grade to our civilization, it’s still a highly worthwhile read. In fact, a whole lot of Heinlein books have been added to my “must read” list.

My problem with this book is that everybody is revoltingly smug. It’s not just Jubal, it’s all of them...It’s perfectly possible that I’d be prepared to forgive everything else if the characters weren’t so smug and if there was a plot arising from their actions...I do not like this book and cannot commend it to your attention.

By the time I reached the middle of Stranger in a Strange Land, it was clear that this was some of his best writing, and that I was not reading one of his “juvenile” novels that I had enjoyed as a youth. The concepts were much deeper, and the subject matter much more adult


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