By Simon Critchley, Robert Bernasconi
Emmanuel Levinas is now widely known along Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty and Sartre as essentially the most very important Continental philosophers of the 20th century. His abiding predicament was once the primacy of the moral relation to the opposite individual and his imperative thesis was once that ethics is first philosophy. His paintings has had a profound impression on a few fields outdoor philosophy--such as theology, Jewish reviews, literature and cultural idea, psychotherapy, sociology, political conception, diplomacy conception and demanding felony conception.
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Additional info for The Cambridge Companion to Levinas (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy)
To put it another way, ethics is entirely my affair, not the affair of some hypothetical, impersonal or universal I running through a sequence of possible imperatives. Ethics is not a spectator sport. Rather, it is my experience of a demand that I both cannot fully meet and cannot avoid. i s l e vi n as a je w is h p hil os op he r ? One of the prevailing and potentially misleading assumptions about Levinas’s work is that he is a Jewish philosopher. Often the people most eager to categorize him as a Jewish philosopher have little understanding of Judaism, and even less of Levinas’s particular version of it, which owes a good deal to his Lithuanian heritage and to a highly specialized technique of Talmudic interpretation that owes more than a little to that heritage.
A disparate inventory xxix series of theological writings touching in particular on the relation of Judaism to Christianity and essays on Moses Mendelssohn and Franz Rosenzweig. ’ and ‘Ego and Totality’. Publication of the Cahier de l’Herne, on Levinas, edited by Catherine Chalier and Miguel Abensour. In addition to important studies of Levinas’s work, it contains unpublished original texts by Levinas, and the transcription by Jacques Rolland of his final lecture course at the Sorbonne, ‘Dieu, la mort et le temps’.
When it comes to the delicate topic of Levinas and Judaism, Catherine Chalier is surely right in her essay when she claims that the peculiarity of Levinas’s thinking is its double fidelity, both to a Hebrew source and to a Greek source, both to Talmudic hermeneutics and philosophical rationality. The more time that one spends reading Levinas, and the more that one becomes familiar with his biography and the background of his work, the less sense it makes to argue for a hierarchy of his philosophical over his confessional work, or to argue that the latter provides the key to understanding the former or vice versa.