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

"I am now not a very Jewish thinker," stated Emmanuel Levinas, "I am only a thinker." This e-book argues opposed to the assumption, affirmed through Levinas himself, that Totality and Infinity and differently Than Being separate philosophy from Judaism. by means of examining Levinas's philosophical works in the course of 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 chain of phenomenological observations. interpreting 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 demise of epistemology.

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Certainly. But above all one who knew how to receive and feed men. . Abraham must have taken the three passersby for three Bedouins, for three nomads from the Negev Desert—three Arabs . . [t]he heirs of Abraham—men to whom their ancestor bequeathed a difficult tradition of duties toward the other man. . 63 In other words, “not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his descendants . .  9:6–8). For Levinas, of course, scripture fulfills its promise to the Gentiles not through faith but through obligation.

Truth and goodness, knowledge and peace, philosophy and  Levinas’s New Creation prophecy, “totality” and “infinity” are all conjunctively associated without any dialectical or conceptual passage that would allow for their effective synthesis or deployment. ” In her view, this diremption between morality and political law leaves the postmodern thinker with an impotent, broken heart filled with pure intentions. 16 The task for philosophy would be merely to yield to the ethical burden of “the Other”; reason would be nothing but the instrumental technique for administering the revelation of ethics and the just society would be the one that knows how to use reason to enforce the heteronomous authority of ethics.

What counts in Judaism, according to this view, is only obedience. Even Maimonides, the greatest representative of philosophical Judaism, would have regarded Judaism as essentially opposed to morality and the exercise of unfettered reason. 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.

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