Abstract

Moses and Aron is indicative of the shift in Schoenberg's thinking that occurred in the early 1920s. His conflicting aesthetic and religious convictions are embodied in Moses, who reflects Schoenberg's religious piety, and Aron who represents his devotion to expressionist, Schopenhauerian aesthetics. By revisiting the figures and relationship of Moses and Aron, Schoenberg's opera examines the possibility of an anti- idolatrous modern work of religious Judaic art. By problematizing the contradiction of creating anti-idolatrous, worshipful Jewish art, Schoenberg foregrounds an aesthetic-theological quandary. How can a Jewish artist represent, not the ineffable—the divine—but ineffability while still adhering to the law of anti-idolatry?

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