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Fence and the Neighbor, The

Emmanuel Levinas, Yeshayahu Leibowitz, and Israel among the Nations

Adam Zachary Newton

Publication Year: 2001

Reviews the potentially complementary albeit sharp differences between two important contemporary Jewish philosophers. The Fence and the Neighbor traces the contours of two thinkers, Emmanuel Levinas and Yeshayahu Leibowitz, who crossed the divide between Talmud and philosophy “proper.” Adam Zachary Newton shows how the question of nationalism that has so long haunted Western philosophy—the question of who belongs within its “fence,” and who outside—has long been the concern of Jewish thought and its preoccupation with law, limits, and the place of Israel among the nations. To those unfamiliar with Talmudic thought Newton shows how deeply its language and concerns shape Levinas. He also offers an introduction to Leibowitz, a conservative religious thinker who was an outspoken gadfly and radically critical voice in the Israeli political scene. Together, their common origin in Jewish Eastern Europe, a common concern with national allegiance, and the common fence of religious Judaism that makes them intellectual neighbors are voiced in penetrating and original dialogue.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Front Matter

Front Cover

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Half Title Page

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Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Table Of Contents

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pp. v-


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pp. ix-xv

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pp. xvii-

"In a letter to Levinas, Martin Buber notes that the Hebrew verb form m11i1 first means to come in support of someone and only later to thank, in contrast to Germanic and Romance languages where 'to thank' means..."


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pp. xix-


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pp. 1-24

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CHAPTER 1 Aggadic Man: Levinas and the Neighbor as (BR) Otherhood

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pp. 23-99

"1. Ah, the scandal of the Jews as a chosen People! 2. How good it feels to be a Jew! 3. judaism's original dissidence, a stiff-necked people with ulterior motives, resisting the pure force of things, and with the ability to disturb."

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CHAPTER 2 Mishurat HaDin: Leibowitz, Nationhood, and the Fence of Halakhah

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pp. 101-168

Two neighbors were blessed with daughters at the same time. One man was a shoemaker by profession and extremely poor. The other was a thief, and strange as it may seem, despite his profession he was equally poverty stricken. They would often lament their fate and discuss ways to help their daughters when they were to reach marriageable age. A friend advised...

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pp. 169-185

"Let me object, at the outset, to any attempt to explain anyone's views by where he comes from or who he is. I object as well to any attempt to distinguish between those who come from a milieu shaped by Western culture and others whose cultural and spiritual origins lie in Eastern Europe. I, too, belong..."


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pp. 187-240


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pp. 241-251


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pp. 253-257


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pp. 259-261

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780791491447
E-ISBN-10: 0791491447
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791447833
Print-ISBN-10: 0791447839

Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2001

Series Title: SUNY series in Jewish Philosophy
Series Editor Byline: Kenneth Seeskin