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Saintly Influence

Edith Wyschogrod and the Possibilities of Philosophy of Religion

Eric Boynton

Publication Year: 2009

Since the publication of her first book, Emmanuel Levinas: The Problem of Ethical Metaphysics, in 1974-the first book about Levinas published in English-Edith Wyschogrod has been at the forefront of the fields of Continental philosophy and philosophy of religion. Her work has crossed many disciplinary boundaries, making peregrinations from phenomenology and moral philosophy to historiography, the history of religions (both Western and non-Western), aesthetics, and the philosophy of biology. In all of these discourses, she has sought to cultivate an awareness of how the self is situated and influenced, as well as the ways in which a self can influence others.In this volume, twelve scholars examine and display the influence of Wyschogrod's work in essays that take up the thematics of influence in a variety of contexts: Christian theology, the saintly behavior of the villagers of Le Chambon sur Lignon, the texts of the medieval Jewish mystic Abraham Abulafia, the philosophies of Levinas, Derrida, and Benjamin, the practice of intellectual history, the cultural memory of the New Testament, and pedagogy.In response, Wyschogrod shows how her interlocutors have brought to light her multiple authorial personae and have thus marked the ambiguity of selfhood, its position at the nexus of being influenced by and influencing others.

Published by: Fordham University Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

We dedicate this volume to Iris Marion Young, a scholar who began her studies as an undergraduate student of Edith Wyschogrod’s at Queens College. Their work shares many of the same concerns, particularly with reference to the emancipatory political...

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pp. 1-15

Any volume that intends to honor a scholar whose work has shaped a field of inquiry is always about influence. This tribute to the work of Edith Wyschogrod is no exception. As a testament to the significance and extent of that influence...

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The Uncertainty Principle

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pp. 16-28

Edith Wyschogrod is first and foremost an ethical thinker. That is not to say she is an ethicist in the usual sense of the term; to the contrary, it is precisely because her work exceeds the bounds of ethics as traditionally defined that it is relevant today...

Part I: The Ethical and Transcendence

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pp. 29-94

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The Impossible Possibility of Ethics

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pp. 31-47

Edith Wyschogrod is perhaps our deepest and most serious contemporary ethical thinker, the one who has most comprehensively explored our ethical crisis today, and explored it with such decisive finality as to foreclose seemingly all possibility...

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The Empty Suitcase as Rainbow

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pp. 48-62

In her project of revisioning moral philosophy, Edith Wyschogrod takes a decisive turn from moral theory to hagiography, from abstract analysis and argument to concrete life stories. The negative motivation for this turn is a critique of moral theory...

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Hosting the Stranger and the Pilgrim: A Christian Theological Reflection

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pp. 63-81

Under the Immigration Act in Britain, it has been estimated that in 2007, up to 25,000 people were detained at places throughout the country known as Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs). Currently, the government plans to increase...

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‘‘God,’’ Gods, God

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pp. 82-94

Gedanken sind frei. Thoughts are free. Thinking is autonomous. Philosophers are free because they are able to receive, accept or refuse, distance, display, suspend, or focus on all that exists or has been thought. But philosophy is never first...

Part II: Practices of Influence

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pp. 95-158

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The Name of God in Levinas’s Philosophy

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pp. 97-112

Levinas testifies to one of philosophy’s primary vocations. A vocation, because philosophy is called. Like all responsibilities, philosophy’s is a response to a call it does not initiate. Philosophy is not like a God who is self-causing. But what...

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Kenotic Overflow and Temporal Transcendence: Angelic Embodiment and the Alterity of Time in Abraham Abulafia

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pp. 113-149

In a number of previously published studies, I have explored the phenomenon of time in kabbalistic literature from various perspectives.1 Needless to say, the permutations of this theme that may be gleaned from this variegated corpus...

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Tribute to Derrida

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pp. 150-158

In 1977, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem inaugurated a Sigmund Freud Professorship. They invited Freud’s daughter Anna Freud to speak. Unable to attend, Anna Freud sent a paper, described by Yosef Yerushalmi in...

Part III: Channeling History

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pp. 159-237

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Hearing the Voices of the Dead: Wyschogrod, Megill, and the Heterological Historian

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pp. 161-174

In response to a question put to Jacques Derrida by Elizabeth Clark, one of America’s leading historians of early Christianity, about the relevance of deconstruction for history, Derrida said what we would expect him to say, that historians must constantly...

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Memory and Violence, or Genealogies of Remembering

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pp. 175-201

Three interrelated features may be said to characterize the work of Edith Wyschogrod. There is first an interdisciplinary drive to rise above institutionally sanctioned boundaries and to retrieve intellectual categories from their disciplinary captivity...

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The Historian and the Messianic ‘‘Now’’: Reading Edith Wyschogrod’s An Ethics of Remembering

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pp. 202-218

In his Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels,Walter Benjamin1 turned to one of the most forgettable moments of European history—the German baroque of the seventeenth century—to unearth the work of writers who, by all accounts...

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Saints and the Heterological Historian

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pp. 219-237

In An Ethics of Remembering,1 Edith Wyschogrod draws from out of the sensibilities of postmodernism a means for the historian to attend, after all, to the voice of the suffering other in history. Her remarkable argument may leave one question...

Part IV: Response

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pp. 239

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An Exercise in Upbuilding

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pp. 241-259

In this extraordinary collection of essays, I encounter myself in a Kierkegaardian sense as ‘‘the single individual,’’ the one by whom the work itself ‘‘wishes to be received as if it had arisen in [the] heart’’ of the self whom it addresses. I read each essay...


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pp. 261-309


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pp. 311-315


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pp. 317-323

E-ISBN-13: 9780823246731
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823230877
Print-ISBN-10: 0823230872

Page Count: 228
Publication Year: 2009

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Subject Headings

  • Religion -- Philosophy.
  • Continental philosophy.
  • Wyschogrod, Edith.
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