A covenant of creatures : Levinas's philosophy of Judaism by Lévinas, Emmanuel; Lévinas, Emmanuel; Fagenblat, Michael PDF

By Lévinas, Emmanuel; Lévinas, Emmanuel; Fagenblat, Michael

ISBN-10: 0804768692

ISBN-13: 9780804768696

ISBN-10: 0804768706

ISBN-13: 9780804768702

ISBN-10: 0804774684

ISBN-13: 9780804774680

"I am now not a very Jewish thinker," acknowledged Emmanuel Levinas, "I am only a thinker." This publication argues opposed to the assumption, affirmed via Levinas himself, that Totality and Infinity and in a different way Than Being separate philosophy from Judaism. through studying Levinas's philosophical works throughout the prism of Judaic texts and concepts, Michael Fagenblat argues that what Levinas known as "ethics" is as a lot a hermeneutical product wrought from the Judaic background as a sequence of phenomenological observations. deciphering the Levinas's philosophy of Judaism inside of a Heideggerian and Pauline framework, Fagenblat makes use of biblical, rabbinic, and Maimonidean texts to supply sustained interpretations of the philosopher's paintings. eventually he demands a reconsideration of the relation among culture and philosophy, and of the which means of religion after the loss of life of epistemology.

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The best way to read the recourse Levinas’s work makes to religion is not in terms of an appeal to the Other as absolutely, dogmatically revealed, as both critics and disciples contend, but in terms of hermeneutical experience: the Other is experienced exegetically. The problematic status of Levinas’s thought derives not from its philosophical claims annulled by the dogmatic imposition of revelation but from the fact that these claims are not explicitly presented as midrash, which is a process of continuously reconstructing revelation and thus simultaneously deconstructing the idea of its pure givenness and transmission.

The concern seems to be that the uniqueness of Jewish wisdom is sacrificed by its translation into philosophical language. In Gibbs’s view, “the question of a remainder in translation, an untranslatable core, has serious implications. ” 31 Alluding to the problem of allegory in Levinas’s work, Derrida already wondered if “the spiraling return of Alexandrian promiscuity” could be staved off. 32 The choice between authenticity and allegory, however, presents a false philosophical dilemma. It makes the unintelligible assumption that Judaism is a conceptual scheme with its own contents (revelation) that are impenetrable to philosophy, and that philosophy provides its own independent scheme (reason) for thinking about the world.

It is by embracing the midrashic character of this ethics that we desublimate its gestural ethereality and harness its political mettle. Only by seeing ethics as the product of an emboldened philosophical interpretation can its apolitical, introverted, or anemic condition be overcome (see Chapter 6). In this view it is not simply that Levinas’s work extends from ethics to politics but that it never was apolitical precisely because it was never merely ethical; it was always religious, Judaic, and theologico-politically “communitarian” in a quite disrupted, entirely open sense.

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A covenant of creatures : Levinas's philosophy of Judaism by Lévinas, Emmanuel; Lévinas, Emmanuel; Fagenblat, Michael


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