By Lev Shestov
For greater than thousand years, philosophers and theologians have wrestled with the irreconcilable competition among Greek rationality (Athens) and biblical revelation (Jerusalem). In Athens and Jersusalem, Lev Shestov?—?an concept for the French existentialists and the major interlocutor of Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, and Martin Buber in the course of the interwar years?—?makes the gripping war of words among those symbolic poles of old knowledge his philosophical testomony, an argumentative and stylistic journey de force.
Although the Russian-born Shestov is little recognized within the Anglophone international at the present time, his writings stimulated many twentieth-century ecu thinkers, similar to Albert Camus, D. H. Lawrence, Thomas Mann, Czeslaw Milosz, and Joseph Brodsky. Athens and Jerusalem is Shestov’s ultimate, groundbreaking paintings at the philosophy of faith from an existential viewpoint. This new, annotated version of Bernard Martin’s vintage translation provides references to the brought up works in addition to glosses of passages from the unique Greek, Latin, German, and French. Athens and Jerusalem is Shestov at his so much profound and such a lot eloquent and is the clearest expression of his concept that formed the evolution of continental philosophy and eu literature within the 20th century.
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Are we really obliged to flatter all of reason's desires and forbidden to irritate it? Should not reason, on the contrary, be forced to satisfy us and to avoid in any way arousing our irritation? Kant could not resolve to "criticize" reason in this way and the Kantian critique of reason does not ask such questions, just as the pre-critical philosophy never asked them. " In short, it would hardly be extravagant to say that the problem of knowledge, or more exactly, knowledge as a problem, not only has never drawn the attention of the most notable representatives of philosophical thought but has repelled them.
28 To the complaint that it is not possible to ask men to take a position which negates a universal conviction of the race and flies in the face of logic, Shestov replies "Obviously! But God always demands of us the impossible .. It is only when man wishes the impossible that he remembers God. "29 Shestov suggests, as we have already indicated, that modern man can perhaps reach the God of the Bible only by first passing through the experience of his own nothingness and by coming to feel, as did Nietzsche and others, that God is not.
Certain among the philosophers, however — and not the least of them — have seen clearly that the facts are at best only raw material which by itself furnishes neither knowledge nor truth and which it is necessary to mold and even to transform. Plato distinguished "opinion" (doxa) from "knowledge" (epistкmк). For Aristotle knowledge was knowledge of the universal. Descartes proceeded from veritates aeternae (eternal truths). Spinoza valued only his tertium genus cognitionis (third kind of knowledge).