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"With brilliance and considerable daring, Peter Gordon's Rosenzweig and Heidegger broaches the possibility of a shared horizon and a promising dialogue between these two seminal figures—these antipodes—of twentieth-century thought. It will be the bench mark for future work in the field."—Thomas Sheehan, author of Heidegger: The Man and the Thinker "In this brilliant book, Peter Gordon sheds light on Rosenzweig's most important philosophical book, The Star of Redemption, by means of an unexpected (and sure to be controversial) comparison—with the philosophy of Heidegger's Being and Time. The result is a "must read" for anyone with a serious interest in either thinker."—Hilary Putnam, author of The Collapse of the Fact/Value Dichotomy and Other Essays "A major work. Gordon persuasively argues that the true originality of Rosenzweig's achievement, heretofore associated with a distinctively "Jewish" break with his German philosophical milieu, only becomes intelligible from within that very milieu. Focusing on resemblances between Rosenzweig's and Heidegger's projects, Gordon discerns the contours of a post-Nietzschean religious sensibility condensed into the paradox of a "redemption-in-the-world." This book will be valued by readers of both Heidegger and Rosenzweig, and by anyone interested in the intersections of philosophy and religion."—Eric L. Santner, author of On the Psychotheology of Everyday Life: Reflections on Freud and Rosenzweig "A comparative reading of Rosenzweig's Star of Redemption and Heidegger's Being and Time. Peter Eli Gordon has written a work of exemplary erudition, analytical nuance, philosophical acumen and expository grace."—Paul Mendes-Flohr, author of German Jews: A Dual Identity
In the early twentieth century, many philosophers began to reject Kantian and Hegelian approaches to the question of God and the philosophy of religion. The challenge was then to formulate a new way of talking about God within philosophy without necessarily having to revert to pre-modern accounts. These thinkers saw the importance of retaining the insights of modernity while also taking into account the Romantic and post-Romantic critiques of modernism as a one-sided or overly rationalistic enterprise. This dissertation seeks to provide a comprehensive picture of the approaches of Franz Rosenzweig and Martin Heidegger to rethinking the question of how philosophy is to proceed, especially in light of religious phenomena. Placing Rosenzweig and Heidegger in dialogue helps to further our understanding of both figures, particularly insofar as Rosenzweig's thought might be used as a corrective to possible shortcomings in the later Heidegger. Many scholars have argued that there is something problematic about Heidegger's religious thought, but Rosenzweig has been almost completely overlooked as an important corrective resource. Both Rosenzweig's comprehensive account of the basic phenomena of human existence and his grammatical method for formulating this account share many of Heidegger's insights, yet surpass them insofar as Rosenzweig is able to address the topic in a more philosophically cogent manner. Rosenzweig's approach helps to illustrate that the mature Heidegger's de-emphasizing of divine revelation in favor of the self-revealing of Being and the "flight of the gods" is ultimately too selective an approach to the phenomena in question, and too narrow in its historical focus on German and pagan Greek thought. Rosenzweig's articulation of what he takes to be the historically concrete event of divine revelation, and the form of life that ensues therefrom, is thus a position that Heidegger should take seriously. Rosenzweig's philosophical speech-thinking serves to articulate concretely lived Biblical revelation in a way that provides a particularly helpful example of what Heidegger was grasping towards in his mature attempts to go beyond traditional metaphysical language.
Two German philosophers working during the Weimar Republic in Germany, between the two World Wars, produced seminal texts that continue to resonate almost a hundred years later. Franz Rosenzweig-a Jewish philosopher, and Martin Heidegger-a philosopher who at one time was studying to become a Catholic priest, each in their own, particular way include in their writings powerful philosophies of art that, if approached phenomenologically and ethically, provide keys to understanding their radically divergent trajectories, both biographically and for their philosophical heritage. Simon provides a close reading of some of their essential texts-The Star of Redemption for Rosenzweig and Being and Time and The Origin of the Work of Art for Heidegger-in order to draw attention to how their philosophies of art can be understood to provide significant ethical directives.
Elevations is a series of closely related essays on the ground-breaking philosophical and theological work of Emmanuel Levinas and Franz Rosenzweig, two of the twentieth century's most important Jewish philosophers. Focusing on the concept of transcendence, Richard A. Cohen shows that Rosenzweig and Levinas join the wisdom of revealed religions to the work of traditional philosophers to create a philosophy charged with the tasks of ethics and justice. He describes how they articulated a responsible humanism and a new enlightenment which would place moral obligation to the other above all other human concerns. This elevating pull of an ethics that can account for the relation of self and other without reducing either term is the central theme of these essays. Cohen also explores the ethical philosophy of these two thinkers in relation to Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, Buber, Sartre, and Derrida. The result is one of the most wide-ranging and lucid studies yet written on these crucial figures in philosophy and Jewish thought.
Breaking with strictly historical or textual perspectives, this book explores Jewish philosophy as philosophy. Often regarded as too technical for Judaic studies and too religious for philosophy departments, Jewish philosophy has had an ambiguous position in the academy. These provocative essays propose new models for the study of Jewish philosophy that embrace wider intellectual arenas—including linguistics, poetics, aesthetics, and visual culture—as a path toward understanding the particular philosophic concerns of Judaism. As they reread classic Jewish texts, the essays articulate a new set of questions and demonstrate the vitality and originality of Jewish philosophy.
This book explores the co-dependency of monotheism and idolatry by examining the thought of several prominent twentieth-century Jewish philosophers—Cohen, Buber, Rosenzweig, and Levinas. While all of these thinkers were keenly aware of the pitfalls of scriptural theism, to differing degrees they each succumbed to the temptation to personify transcendence, even as they tried either to circumvent or to restrain it by apophatically purging kataphatic descriptions of the deity. Derrida and Wyschogrod, by contrast, carried the project of denegation one step further, embarking on a path that culminated in the aporetic suspension of belief and the consequent removal of all images from God, a move that seriously compromises the viability of devotional piety. The inquiry into apophasis, transcendence, and immanence in these Jewish thinkers is symptomatic of a larger question. Recent attempts to harness the apophatic tradition to construct a viable postmodern negative theology, a religion without religion, are not radical enough. Not only are these philosophies of transcendence guilty of a turn to theology that defies the phenomenological presupposition of an immanent phenomenality, but they fall short on their own terms, inasmuch as they persist in employing metaphorical language that personalizes transcendence and thereby runs the risk of undermining the irreducible alterity and invisibility attributed to the transcendent other. The logic of apophasis, if permitted to run its course fully, would exceed the need to posit some form of transcendence that is not ultimately a facet of immanence. Apophatic theologies, accordingly, must be supplanted by a more far-reaching apophasis that surpasses the theolatrous impulse lying coiled at the crux of theism, an apophasis of apophasis, based on accepting an absolute nothingness—to be distinguished from the nothingness of an absolute—that does not signify the unknowable One but rather the manifold that is the pleromatic abyss at being’s core. Hence, the much-celebrated metaphor of the gift must give way to the more neutral and less theologically charged notion of an unconditional givenness in which the distinction between giver and given collapses. To think givenness in its most elemental, phenomenological sense is to allow the apparent to appear as given without presuming a causal agency that would turn that given into a gift.
Although Franz Rosenzweig is arguably the most important Jewish philosopher of the twentieth century, his thought remains little understood. Here, Leora Batnitzky argues that Rosenzweig's redirection of German-Jewish ethical monotheism anticipates and challenges contemporary trends in religious studies, ethics, philosophy, anthropology, theology, and biblical studies. This text, which captures the hermeneutical movement of Rosenzweig's corpus, is the first to consider the full import of the cultural criticism articulated in his writings on the modern meanings of art, language, ethics, and national identity. In the process, the book solves significant conundrums about Rosenzweig's relation to German idealism, to other major Jewish thinkers, to Jewish political life, and to Christianity, and brings Rosenzweig into conversation with key contemporary thinkers. Drawing on Rosenzweig's view that Judaism's ban on idolatry is the crucial intellectual and spiritual resource available to respond to the social implications of human finitude, Batnitzky interrogates idolatry as a modern possibility. Her analysis speaks not only to the question of Judaism's relationship to modernity (and vice versa), but also to the generic question of the present's relationship to the past--a subject of great importance to anyone contemplating the modern statuses of religious tradition, reason, science, and historical inquiry. By way of Rosenzweig, Batnitzky argues that contemporary philosophers and ethicists must relearn their approaches to religious traditions and texts to address today's central ethical problems.
This text focuses on the relevance of the proper name in the conceptions of language and history that inform the thought of Adorno, Benjamin, Heidegger and Rosenzweig. Their interest in the proper name is because it does not simply operate as a conventional linguistic sign. A specific experience of the Jewish religious tradition (Adorno, Benjamin, Rosenzweig) and a vision of poetry resulting from the reading of Hoelderlin (Heidegger) lead to the idea of an absolute singularity, it is a singularity that resists all conceptual identificaiton and the proper name expresses this singularity in language. In this analysis, history is conceived as a movement that both betrays and tends towards the absolute singularity that manifests itself in the unsayable, i.e. in the name of God, or in poetical language. questions of gesture, translation and melancholia and the moment of apparition in the work of art are comprehensible within Dr Duttmann's discussion, which should be of interest to students of language, philosophy and theology.
Examining Levinas’s critique of the Heideggerian conception of temporality, this book shows how the notion of the feminine both enables and prohibits the most fertile territory of Levinas’s thought. According to Heidegger, the traditional notion of time, which stretches from Aristotle to Bergson, is incoherent because it rests on an inability to think together two assumptions: that the present is the most real aspect of time, and that the scientific model of time is infinite, continuous, and constituted by a series of more or less identical now-points. For Heidegger, this contradiction, which privileges the present and thinks of time as ongoing, derives from a confusion about Being. He suggests that it is not the present but the future that is the primordial ecstasis of temporality. For Heidegger, death provides an orientation for our authentic temporal understanding. Levinas agrees with Heidegger that mortality is much more significant than previous philosophers of time have acknowledged, but for Levinas, it is not my death, but the death of the other that determines our understanding of time. He is critical of Heidegger’s tendency to collapse the ecstases (past, present, and future) of temporality into one another, and seeks to move away from what he sees as a totalizing view of time. Levinas wants to rehabilitate the unique character of the instant, or present, without sacrificing its internal dynamic to the onward progression of the future, and without neglecting the burdens of the past that history visits upon us. The author suggests that though Levinas’s conception of subjectivity corrects some of the problems Heidegger’s philosophy introduces, such as his failure to deal adequately with ethics, Levinas creates new stumbling blocks, notably the confining role he accords to the feminine. For Levinas, the feminine functions as that which facilitates but is excluded from the ethical relation that he sees as the pinnacle of philosophy. Showing that the feminine is a strategic part of Levinas’s philosophy, but one that was not thought through by him, the author suggests that his failure to solidly place the feminine in his thinking is structurally consonant with his conceptual separation of politics from ethics.
Modern Jewish philosophy emerged in the seventeenth century, with the impact of the new science and modern philosophy on thinkers who were reflecting upon the nature of Judaism and Jewish life. This collection of essays examines the work of several of the most important of these figures, from the seventeenth to the late-twentieth centuries, and addresses themes central to the tradition of modern Jewish philosophy: language and revelation, autonomy and authority, the problem of evil, messianism, the influence of Kant, and feminism. Included are essays on Spinoza, Mendelssohn, Cohen, Buber, Rosenzweig, Fackenheim, Soloveitchik, Strauss, and Levinas. Other thinkers discussed include Maimon, Benjamin, Derrida, Scholem, and Arendt. The sixteen original essays are written by a world-renowned group of scholars especially for this volume and give a broad and rich picture of the tradition of modern Jewish philosophy over a period of four centuries.
This volume brings together Rosenzweig's central essays on theology and philosophy, including two works available for the first time in English: the conclusion to Rosenzweig's book Hegel and the State, and Rosenzweig's famous letter to Rudolph Ehrenberg known as the Urzelle of the Star of Redemption, an essential work for understanding Rosenzweig, Weimar theology and philosophy, and German idealism and the existential reaction of the period. Additional selections are presented in new or revised translations. Introduction and notes by Franks and Morgan set Rosenzweig's works in context and illuminate his role as one of the key thinkers of the period.
The Star of Redemption, * which presents Franz Rosenzweig's system of philosophy, begins with the sentence "from death, (vom Tode) , from the fear of death, originates all cognition of the All" and concludes with the words "into life. " This beginning and this conclusion of the book signify more than the first and last words of philosophical books usually do. Taken together - "from death into life" - they comprise the entire meaning of Rosenzweig's philosophy. The leitmotif of this philosophy is the life and death of the human being and not the I of philosophical idealism, where man ultimately signifies "for ethics" no more than" . . . a point to which it (ethics) relates its problems, as for science also he (man) is only a particular case of its general laws. "l Rosenzweig deals with the individual's actual existence, that which is termi nated by death; he speaks of the individual's hic et nunc, of his actions and decisions in the realm of concrete reality. This philosophy is not an exposition of theoretical principles. It is not concerned with man in general in abstract time, but rather with the individual human being, designated by a proper name, living in his particular time. ** Human existence in its finiteness and temporalness forms the focus in which Rosenzweig's motif can be gathered together.
Martin Heidegger is one of the twentieth century's most important philosophers. His ground-breaking works have had a hugely significant impact on contemporary thought through their reception, appropriation and critique. His thought has influenced philosophers as diverse as Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Arendt, Adorno, Gadamer, Levinas, Derrida and Foucault, among others. In addition to his formative role in philosophical movements such as phenomenology, hermeneutics and existentialism, structuralism and post-structuralism, deconstruction and post-modernism, Heidegger has had a transformative effect on diverse fields of inquiry including political theory, literary criticism, theology, gender theory, technology and environmental studies. The Bloomsbury Companion to Heidegger is the definitive reference guide to Heidegger's life and work, presenting fifty-eight original essays written by an international team of leading Heidegger scholars. The volume includes comprehensive coverage of Heidegger life and contexts, sources, influences and encounters, key writings, major themes and topics, and reception and influence. This is the ideal research tool for anyone studying or working in the field of Heidegger Studies today.
Uncommon Friendships explores the often-overlooked dynamic of interreligious friendships, considering their significance for how we think about contemporary religious thought. By exploring the dynamics of three relationships between important religious thinkers--Franz Rosenzweig and Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, Emmanuel Levinas and Maurice Blanchot, and Julia Kristeva and Catherine Clement--this study demonstrates the ways such friendships enable innovation and transformation within religious traditions. For each pair of thinkers, the sustained engagement and disagreement between them becomes central to their religious and philosophical development, helping them to respond effectively and creatively to issues and problems facing their communities and societies. Through a rereading of their work, Young shows how such friendships can help us rethink religion, aesthetics, education, and politics--as well as friendship itself.
The Star of Redemption is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding religion and philosophy in the twentieth century. Fusing philosophy and theology, the book assigns both Judaism and Christianity distinct but equally important roles in the spiritual structure of the world. Franz Rosenzweig finds in both biblical religions approaches to a comprehension of reality. The major themes and motifs of The Star—the birth, life, death, and the immortality of the soul; Eastern philosophies and Jewish mysticism; the relationship between God, world and humanity over time; and revelation as the real biblical miracle of faith and path to redemption—resonate meaningfully.
A comprehensive look at the intellectual and cultural innovations of the Weimar period During its short lifespan, the Weimar Republic (1918–33) witnessed an unprecedented flowering of achievements in many areas, including psychology, political theory, physics, philosophy, literary and cultural criticism, and the arts. Leading intellectuals, scholars, and critics—such as Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin, Ernst Bloch, Bertolt Brecht, and Martin Heidegger—emerged during this time to become the foremost thinkers of the twentieth century. Even today, the Weimar era remains a vital resource for new intellectual movements. In this incomparable collection, Weimar Thought presents both the specialist and the general reader a comprehensive guide and unified portrait of the most important innovators, themes, and trends of this fascinating period. The book is divided into four thematic sections: law, politics, and society; philosophy, theology, and science; aesthetics, literature, and film; and general cultural and social themes of the Weimar period. The volume brings together established and emerging scholars from a remarkable array of fields, and each individual essay serves as an overview for a particular discipline while offering distinctive critical engagement with relevant problems and debates. Whether used as an introductory companion or advanced scholarly resource, Weimar Thought provides insight into the rich developments behind the intellectual foundations of modernity.
The telling of tales is always a troubling business, and the way in which we tell stories about ourselves and about others always involves a degree of ethical risk. Levinas, Storytelling and Anti-Storytelling explores the troubling nature of storytelling through a reading of the work of Emmanuel Levinas. Levinas is a thinker who has a complex relationship with literature and with storytelling. At times, Levinas is a teller of powerful tales about ethics; at other times, on ethical grounds, he disavows storytelling altogether. Levinas, Storytelling and Anti-Storytelling explores the tensions between philosophy and storytelling that run throughout Levinas's work. By asking about how Levinas tells and untells his stories, and by risking the telling of tales that Levinas himself does not dare to tell, this book opens up new ways of thinking about Levinas's ethics of responsibility. It may be, as Levinas often insists, that storytelling presents us with ethical dangers; but Levinas, Storytelling and Anti-Storytelling makes the case that an ethics of responsibility may demand that, whilst mindful of these dangers, we nevertheless continually seek out new stories to tell about ourselves, about others and about the world.

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