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Jewish Philosophy as a Guide to Life

Rosenzweig, Buber, Levinas, Wittgenstein

Hilary Putnam

Publication Year: 2008

Distinguished philosopher Hilary Putnam, who is also a practicing Jew, questions the thought of three major Jewish philosophers of the 20th century—Franz Rosenzweig, Martin Buber, and Emmanuel Levinas—to help him reconcile the philosophical and religious sides of his life. An additional presence in the book is Ludwig Wittgenstein, who, although not a practicing Jew, thought about religion in ways that Putnam juxtaposes to the views of Rosenzweig, Buber, and Levinas. Putnam explains the leading ideas of each of these great thinkers, bringing out what, in his opinion, constitutes the decisive intellectual and spiritual contributions of each of them. Although the religion discussed is Judaism, the depth and originality of these philosophers, as incisively interpreted by Putnam, make their thought nothing less than a guide to life.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Series: The Helen and Martin Schwartz Lectures in Jewish Studies

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pp. ix-x

The essays that make up this volume grew out of the invitation to give the Helen and Martin Schwartz Lectures on Jewish Studies at Indiana University in 1999. I gave . . .

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Introduction (Autobiographical)

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pp. 1-8

Religions are communal and have long histories, but religion is also a personal matter or it is nothing. So I will explain how I came to write this book in . . .

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1 Rosenzweig and Wittgenstein

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pp. 9-36

In 1997 a long- lost notebook of Wittgenstein’s was published under the title Denkbewegungen ( Thought-movements).1 Wittgenstein had recorded this notebook in Cambridge in the years . . .

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2 Rosenzweig on Revelation and Romance

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pp. 37-54

In “The New Thinking,” the essay from which I quoted in chapter 1, Rosenzweig provides valuable information about the structure and purposes of . . .

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3 What I and Thou Is Really Saying

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pp. 55-67

In Israelis and the Jewish Tradition, David Hartman speaks of the disastrous psychological burden of what he calls “ event- grounded . . .

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4 Levinas on What Is Demanded of Us

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pp. 68-99

Levinas survived the Second World War under difficult and humiliating circumstances,1 while his family, with the exception of his wife and daughter, perished. These . . .

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pp. 100-108

In the preceding chapters, I have only in passing indicated my own religious attitudes because, as I explained in the introduction, my concern in writing this book was . . .


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pp. 109-121

E-ISBN-13: 9780253009647
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253351333

Page Count: 136
Publication Year: 2008

Series Title: The Helen and Martin Schwartz Lectures in Jewish Studies