Religious Studies and Theology, Vol 28, No 2 (2009)

Etty Hillesum: Love Calls for Spiritual Discernment

Alexandra Ileana Pleshoyano
Issued Date: 12 May 2010


Etty Hillesum, a young Jewish woman living in Amsterdam, died on
November 30th 1943 in Auschwitz when she was twenty-nine years old, leaving behind a diary (eleven exercise books) and seventy-eight letters which have drawn responses across the world in the form of books, reviews, articles, documentaries, plays and visual art. By adding this essay to the body of literature on Hillesum’s writings, I hope to change the process of recuperation so that her texts may be read differently. What I hope to contribute
is a pluralist and universal’s perspective on the comprehension of love in Hillesum’s writings. This subject has not as yet been given enough thought and attention. And yet, when one tries to understand Hillesum’s spiritual path it is mandatory to interpret what she understood by the so common word of “love.” Hillesum’s writings do indeed articulate a remarkable
experience of God in times when many just abandoned a faith that seemed so useless.

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DOI: 10.1558/rsth.v28i2.241


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