By Michael Fagenblat
"I am now not a very Jewish thinker," stated Emmanuel Levinas, "I am only a thinker." This booklet argues opposed to the assumption, affirmed through Levinas himself, that Totality and Infinity and in a different way Than Being separate philosophy from Judaism. through analyzing Levinas's philosophical works during the prism of Judaic texts and ideas, Michael Fagenblat argues that what Levinas known as "ethics" is as a lot a hermeneutical product wrought from the Judaic history as a sequence of phenomenological observations. interpreting 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. eventually he demands a reconsideration of the relation among culture and philosophy, and of the which means of religion after the demise of epistemology.
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Additional resources for A Covenant of Creatures: Levinas's Philosophy of Judaism (Cultural Memory in the Present)
3:31). The point, for Paul, is to proclaim the promise of the Torah for all; so too for Levinas it is to expose and disseminate the ethical wisdom Levinas’s New Creation of the Torah, as well as the commentaries and historical experiences of the Jews to whom those logia were entrusted. It goes without saying that Jewishness, for Levinas, is a matter of ethical indifference—pure adiaphora, as Paul rightly calls it. In Badiou’s words, Jewish particularism is “simultaneously extrinsic . . 74 But it also follows that Levinas’s phenomenological works addressed to the Gentiles are midrashic accomplishments, radical interpretations of Jewish texts.
Employing the exact same schema but reversing the values, neo-Orthodox Jewish thinkers such as Yeshayahu Leibowitz, Marvin Fox, and Benny Levy laud the value of heteronomous, revealed law over the pretensions of philosophical reasoning. Prominent detractors and leading exponents of Judaism are thus in accord: where there is Judaism there can be no philosophy proper since Judaism subordinates the autonomous capacity of reasoning to the dictates of the nonrationally given Law (Badiou’s critique of Levinas in nuce).
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.