By Lévinas, Emmanuel; Lévinas, Emmanuel; Fagenblat, Michael
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Additional info for A covenant of creatures : Levinas's philosophy of Judaism
Thus the Judaic element in Levinas’s thought is not what disqualifies it from attaining the rank of philosophy proper but, when made suitably explicit, is what becomes the key to its post-metaphysical philosophical dignity—phenomenology as midrash. Far from positing the Other as given without interpretation, Levinas’s account of ethics and of the commanding voice of the Other is interpretatively saturated. What Levinas calls ethics is the exegetically constructed experience of another human being as it signifies within the horizon of our traditioninfused philosophical imagination.
19 Moyn shows how the Jewish philosopher forged most of his enduring concepts in the cauldron of a largely Protestant interwar philosophical milieu. ” Levinas’s notion of the transcendence of the face is a secular version of Otto’s “wholly other,” whereas his account of the ethical self modifies Kierkegaard’s argument by contending that it is through the ethical relation to the other, rather than through the theological relation to God, that a critique of philosophy is realized in the guise of subjectivity.
It is Spinoza’s canonizing interpretation of Judaism, then, that needs to be questioned. 11 Without acquiescing to revealed, nonrational Law, not only righteousness but also wisdom would count for nothing. 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.
A covenant of creatures : Levinas's philosophy of Judaism by Lévinas, Emmanuel; Lévinas, Emmanuel; Fagenblat, Michael