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One of these journal issues was dedicated to the ethics and philosophy of religion of the neo-Kantian systematic philosopher Hermann Cohen and one to Emmanuel Levinas According to Robert Gibbs, who himself has been pursuing a constructive renewal of Jewish ethical thought, Cohen, Rosenzweig, Buber, and Levinas are related by a "family resemblance" rooted in a "radicalization of ethics. To shift the emphasis from Levinas to Strauss means to shift the interest of Jewish thought from ethics to politics. This also entails, according to Batnitzky, a shift away from Kantian, Protestant interiority, subjectivist morality, and Christian "university metaphysics" to a more authentic consideration of "Jewish revelation" as exterior rather than interior, legal rather than moral, and political rather than philosophical, if by the latter we mean something beholden to Christian or post-Christian metaphysics.

Batnitzky recommends "that Strauss's thought should be the starting point for Jewish philosophical thinking in the late twentieth century sic because Strauss gives a better account of the scope and nature of Jewish thought, of the content of Jewish thought, and the needs of post-Emancipation Jewry than other contemporary thinkers who are actually engaged in constructive Jewish thought" p.


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At issue, then, is the proper starting point for future constructive Jewish thought. Batnitzky follows what she believes to be Strauss's strengths and his "interest … in problems and not solutions" ibid. Instead, following Strauss, my aim is to raise questions about a number of assumptions in contemporary academic life, some of which rightly spill over into discussion of contemporary politics, ethics, and theology. These include first and foremost questions about the relations among philosophy, religion, and politics, in some of their historic and current constructions" ibid.

The fundamental intuitions Batnitzky gleans from Strauss's oeuvre may be paraphrased as follows.

02/08 Leovino Garcia on "Understanding the Philosophical Vocabulary of Emmanuel Levinas"

Judaism and philosophy are based on irreconcilably opposite "attitudes" since the former requires absolute obedience to revealed law, whereas the latter represents the "unending quest for the nature of the good" p. If this is true, any attempt at reconciling Judaism and philosophy fails either as Judaism or as philosophy, and possibly represents neither.

Philosophy and the Turn to Religion

Modern philosophy represents an internalization of the medieval, Thomistic coordination of philosophy and revelation, attributing to this new philosophy qualities derived from revelation. This secularization of philosophy constitutes a bastardization of both philosophy and revelation and it is based on medieval Christian metaphysics.

As law, and as opposed to philosophy in the classical pre-scholastic sense, Judaism or, as Batnitzky puts it, Jewish revelation remains, or ought to remain, aloof from both the medieval and the modern forms of Christian thought.

The amalgamation of biblical faith and philosophical metaphysics characteristic of modern philosophy has imbued philosophy with unrealizable salvific qualities on the historical and political plane. Though the book reaches back to Immanuel Kant, Martin Heidegger, and earlier, it takes its inspiration from the tradition of French phenomenology, notably Emmanuel Levinas, Jean-Luc Marion, and, especially, Jacques Derrida.

Tracing how Derrida probes the discourse on religion, its metaphysical presuppositions, and its transformations, de Vries shows how this author consistently foregrounds the unexpected alliances between a radical interrogation of the history of Western philosophy and the religious inheritance from which that philosophy has increasingly sought to set itself apart.

De Vries goes beyond formal analogies between the textual practices of deconstruction and so-called negative theology to address the necessity for a philosophical thinking that situates itself at once close to and at the farthest remove from traditional manifestations of the religious and the theological. Only by confronting such uncanny and difficult figures, de Vries claims, can one begin to think and act upon the ethical and political imperatives of our day.

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Face to Face with Levinas. Cohen, Richard. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, Davis, Colin. Levinas: An Introduction. De Boer, Theodor.

Levinas and the Philosophy of Religion

Tussen filosofie en profetie. De wijsbegeerte van Emmanuel Levinas. Baarn: Derrida, Jacques. Adieu to Emmanuel Levinas , trans. Points , Paris: Seuil, , pp. Finkelkraut, Alain. The Wisdom of Love , trans. Friedman, Maurice.

Richard Kearney and Kascha Semonovitch

Philosophical Interrogations. New York: Harper Row, , pp. Greisch, Jean and Rolland, Jacques eds. Paris: Les Editions du Cerf, Handelman, Susan A. Kunz, George. Textes pour Emmanuel Levinas , Paris: Place, Lichtenberg-Ettinger, Bracha. Simas and C. Paris: BLE Atelier, Ouaknin, Marc-Alain.

CFP: Emmanuel Levinas and Interreligious Dialogue - PhilEvents

Meditations erotiques: Essai sur Emmanuel Levinas. Paris: Balland, Peperzak, Adiraan. West Lafayette: Purdue UP, Petrosino, Silvano and Jaques, Rolland.


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Poirie, Francois. Emmanuel Levinas: Qui etes-vous?. Paris: La Manufacture, Ricoeur, Paul. Soi-meme comme un autre. Paris: Seuil, Strasser, S. Jenseits von Sein und Zeit. Spiegelberg, The Phenomenological Movement. Sugarman, Richard I. Wahl, Jean.