A Covenant of Creatures: Levinas's Philosophy of Judaism by Michael Fagenblat

By Michael Fagenblat

"I am no longer a very Jewish thinker," acknowledged Emmanuel Levinas, "I am only a thinker." This booklet argues opposed to the belief, affirmed by means of Levinas himself, that Totality and Infinity and differently Than Being separate philosophy from Judaism. through examining Levinas's philosophical works throughout the prism of Judaic texts and concepts, Michael Fagenblat argues that what Levinas referred to as "ethics" is as a lot a hermeneutical product wrought from the Judaic historical past as a sequence of phenomenological observations. deciphering the Levinas's philosophy of Judaism inside a Heideggerian and Pauline framework, Fagenblat makes use of biblical, rabbinic, and Maimonidean texts to supply sustained interpretations of the philosopher's paintings. finally he demands a reconsideration of the relation among culture and philosophy, and of the that means of religion after the dying of epistemology.

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Their very explosions are recounted. . Thus signifies the inextricable equivocality woven by language. (OB, 169/ AE, 215) In Levinas’s view, at least as expressed in his later work, his words are not referential in a simple way. “Ethics” in no way refers to the Other directly, without passing through the text, as if there were some unmediated access to the moral meaning presented in the face. 52 This is what the midrashic imagination has always done. 53 The language of tradition, which metaphysical realism regards as a ladder that can be kicked away once true knowledge has been attained, is here thought, with Levinas, Heidegger, and Derrida, as the very way of doing philosophy.

3:27). It remains only to note that the deconstruction of the predicate Israel within the history of Jewish philosophy is not an accomplishment of apostates alone. Maimonides defended the Mishnaic proposition that “all Israelites have a share in the world to come” by identifying the Israelites in this Mishnah with those individuals—Jews or non-Jews—whose intellects are actualized. 77 That reductive reading of Torah as pure law, nomos, has long plagued Christian and philosophical conceptions of the nature of revelation in the Jewish tradition.

Levinas says so himself: “Is all this phenomenology inspired by the Bible? ”29 Then why study the texts? Why affirm the tradition? Why accept the laws? Why not just do philosophy? Framed like this, Levinas would have to avail himself of the standard medieval retort that there is political and pedagogical value to the revealed tradition, as Sa’adia Gaon, Maimonides, and others emphasized. ” But this only confirms the criticism, since it amounts to admitting that there is nothing to Judaism but an instrumentalization of philosophy.

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