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

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

"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 differently Than Being separate philosophy from Judaism. by means of studying Levinas's philosophical works throughout the prism of Judaic texts and ideas, Michael Fagenblat argues that what Levinas referred to as "ethics" is as a lot a hermeneutical product wrought from the Judaic background as a chain 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. finally he demands a reconsideration of the relation among culture and philosophy, and of the that means of religion after the loss of life of epistemology.

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Instead of a productive rapport between Judaism and philosophy, the project of rendering Hebrew wisdom into a philosophical language would be tantamount to idolatry, as if the philosophical mind could capture the transcendence of revelation. In Gibbs’s words: If we could draw upon, for example, Plato’s “Good beyond Being,” or even Kant’s “Primacy of Practical Reason,” we might find resources in the “Greek” tradition. It is just this issue that seems to confuse Levinas. . [H]as Levinas preserved in method what he established in content?

13:8–10). Jacob Taubes provides an interesting if overstated comment on this passage: This is a highly polemical text, polemical against Jesus. Because from the Gospels we know the dual commandment. Jesus is asked: What is the most important commandment? And he says, You shall love your Lord with all your strength and your soul and your might, and after this follows: Love your neighbor as yourself. Paul doesn’t issue a dual commandment . . it is the love not of the Lord, but of the neighbor that is the focus here.

Judaism would accommodate ethics only by subordinating it to the suprarational transcendence of revealed divine Law. The status and legitimacy of ethics within Judaism would therefore in principle be not only heteronomous but, indeed, antirational. Such is the image of Judaism that Spinoza introduced into modern philosophy. In addition to the prevalence of this antiphilosophical image of Judaism among eminent modern philosophers, such a view has been defended by leading Jewish thinkers, usually by interpreting Maimonides Levinas’s New Creation  in the way Spinoza did.

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