By Lévinas, Emmanuel; Lévinas, Emmanuel; Fagenblat, Michael
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Extra resources for A covenant of creatures : Levinas's philosophy of Judaism
Much more than an exegetical tradition, midrash is the way Jewish thinkers have reread their tradition in order to reconceive their world. The modus operandi of Jewish thought as such that it reconfigures its ever-changing boundaries and populates them with new thoughts woven of old texts. Accordingly, ethics is not the passive reception of an absolute given, that mystical face of the Other, but a construction wrought from the on going relationship between moral experience and tradition. It is by embracing the midrashic character of this ethics that we desublimate its gestural ethereality and harness its political mettle.
The same structure of preserving the law for the Jews while applying its promise to the Gentiles can also be found in Levinas. For the Jewish apostle to the Gentiles as for the Jewish philosopher to the Gentiles, the logia entrusted to the Jews, their revelations and commentaries, are the vehicle for a proclamation addressed to everyone or, rather, to anyone Levinas’s New Creation prepared to respond to them. This new proclamation issued on the basis of an interpreted event—for Paul, the risen Christ; for Levinas, the face of the Other—implies neither the adoption of Jewish law by Gentiles nor its abolition for Jews.
16:15–16). ”65 Levinas’s fundamental move, like Paul’s, is to ex-appropriate the Torah of the Jews through a midrash addressed to anyone responsive to it, which thereby creates a new addressee of the message entrusted to the Jews. This new Israel in no way invalidates, much less terminates, “Jewish identity” or its constitutive relationship to law, ritual, and memory. ” 66 Less precise is his view that “Levinas is universalizing Judaism,” since it is more a matter of sharing the ethical sense of the logia of the Jews with anyone than of applying it to everyone without regard for their particular points of view.
A covenant of creatures : Levinas's philosophy of Judaism by Lévinas, Emmanuel; Lévinas, Emmanuel; Fagenblat, Michael