By Michael Fagenblat

"I am now not a very Jewish thinker," stated Emmanuel Levinas, "I am only a thinker." This publication argues opposed to the assumption, affirmed by means of Levinas himself, that Totality and Infinity and differently Than Being separate philosophy from Judaism. through interpreting Levinas's philosophical works in the course of 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 that means of religion after the dying of epistemology.

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Extra info for A Covenant of Creatures: Levinas's Philosophy of Judaism (Cultural Memory in the Present)

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On the basis of a common theological assumption one group asserts that Levinas has no philosophy while the other says he has no Judaism because both agree on the essential: philosophy is not Judaism, for Judaism is based on revelation, taken as the opacity of a transcendent Will commanding a particular law, essentially incompatible with the transparent universality of reason. To these two positions—neither philosophy, nor Judaism (which are, in fact, one)—this book offers an alternative. ” Indeed, Moyn’s whole book, so sensitive to the historical dimensions of twentieth-century French thought, is deeply flawed by an almost ahistorical, usually implicit theory about the authentic Jewish tradition onto which Levinas would allegedly be imposing his secularized existential theology.

Jacques Derrida A Philosophy of Judaism? ” His arguments and conclusions made claims independent of his particular confession of faith and religious affiliation. They are, he proposed, independent of all confessions of faith and religious affiliations; they are phenomenological analyses of “the thing itself,” the thing of ethics. The Other—that thing of ethics—is not a Judaic or even a religious phenomenon. And if religion in general and Judaism in particular agree on the significance and manifestation of ethics, that is because they have caught sight of something in the thing itself rather than because philosophy is an apology for religion or doctrine.

The idea of an untranslatable authentic content, however, makes no sense, because beliefs necessarily relate to the world and to the beliefs other people have of the world. 35 Although the metaphor of translation is a traditional and suggestive one, in the end it is misleading, for it suggests that philosophy is one thing and Judaism another. ”36 Nevertheless, the relevant point here is not that Judaism is another name for philosophy but that making the best sense, semantically and morally, out of Jewish texts cannot be done in isolation from the claims of philosophy.

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