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Jewish Thought in a Century of Crisis
Jewish Thought in a Century of Crisis
Michael L. Morgan
Probes the impact of the 20th century on Jewish belief and practice.
Confronting the challenges of the 20th century, from modernity and the Great War to the Holocaust and postmodern culture, Jewish thinkers have wrestled with such fundamental issues as redemption and revelation, eternity and history, messianism and politics. From the turn of the century through the 1920s, European Jewish intellectuals confronted alienation and the challenges of modernity by seeking secure grounds for a meaningful life. After the Holocaust and the fall of Nazism, the rich results of their thinking -- on topics such as transcendence, redemption, revelation, and politics -- were reinterpreted in an atmosphere of increasing disillusion and fragmentation. In Interim Judaism, Michael L. Morgan traces the evolution of this shift in values, as expressed in the work of social thinkers, novelists, artists, and poets as well as philosophers and theologians at the beginning and end of the century. Focusing on the problem of objectivity, the experience of the transcendent, and the relationship between redemption and politics, he argues that the outcome for contemporary Jews is a pragmatic style of religiosity that has abandoned traditional conceptions of Judaism and is searching and waiting for new ones, a condition that he describes as "interim Judaism."
Michael L. Morgan is Professor of Philosophy and Jewish Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. He is author of Platonic Piety and Dilemmas in Modern Jewish Thought (Indiana University Press). He has edited The Jewish Thought of Emil Fackenheim; Classics in Moral and Political Theory; Jewish Philosophers and Jewish Philosophy (Indiana University Press); and A Holocaust Reader: Responses to the Nazi Extermination. With Paul Franks, he has translated and edited Franz Rosenzweig: Philosophical and Theological Writings.
Published with the generous support of Hebrew Union College--Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati
128 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
cloth 0-253-33856-5 $35.00 L /
Jean-Luc Marion, Saturated Phenomena, and Hermeneutics
JJean-Luc Marion's theory of saturated phenomena is one of the most exciting developments in phenomenology in recent decades. It opens up new possibilities for understanding phenomena by beginning from rich and complex examples such as revelation and works of art. Rather than being curiosities or exceptions, these excessiveor saturatedphenomena are, in Marion's view, paradigms. He understands more straightforward phenomena, such as the objects of the natural sciences, as reduced and impoverished versions of the excess given in saturated phenomena.Interpreting Excess is a systematic and comprehensive study of Marion's texts on saturated phenomena and their place in his wider phenomenology of givenness, tracing both his theory and his examples across a wide range of texts spanning three decades.The author argues that a rich hermeneutics is implicit in Marion's examples of saturated phenomena but is not set out in his theory. This hermeneutics makes clear that attempts to overthrow the much-criticized sovereignty of the Cartesian ego will remain unsuccessful if they simply reverse the subject-object relation by speaking of phenomena imposing themselves with an overwhelming givenness on a recipient. Instead, phenomena should be understood as appearing in a hermeneutic space already opened by a subject's active reception. Thus, a phenomenon's appearing depends not only on its givenness but also on the way it is interpreted by the receiving subject. All phenomenology is, therefore, necessarily hermeneutic.Interpreting Excess provides an indispensable guide for any study of Marion's saturated phenomena. It is also a significant contribution to ongoing debates about philosophical ways of thinking about God, the relation between hermeneutics and phenomenology, and philosophy after the subject.
Theology and Psychoanalytic Theory
Interstices of the Sublime represents a powerful theological engagement with psychoanalytic theory in Freud, Lacan, Kristeva and Zizek, as well as major expressions of contemporary Continental philosophy, including Deleuze, Derrida, Marion, and Badiou. Through creative and constructive psycho-theological readings of topics such as sublimation, schizophrenia, God, and creation ex nihilo, this book contributes to a new form of radical theological thinking that is deeply involved in the world. Here the idea of the Kantian sublime is read into Freud and Lacan, and compared with sublimation. The sublime refers to a conflict of the Kantian faculties of reason and imagination, and involves the attempt to represent what is intrinsically unrepresentable. Sublimation, by contrast, involves the expression and partial satisfaction of primal desires in culturally acceptable terms. The sublime is negatively expressed in sublimation, because it is both the sourceof sublimation as well as that which resists being sublimated. That is, the Freudian sublime is related to the process of sublimation, but it also distorts or disrupts sublimation, and invokes what Lacan calls the Real. The effects of the sublime are not just psychoanalytic but, importantly, theological, because the sublime is the main form that Godtakes in the modern world. A radical postmodern theology attends to the workings of the sublime in our thinking and living, and provides resources to understand the complexity of reality. This book is one of the first sustained theological readings of Lacan in English.
Alasdair MacIntyre and Critics
Both as cardinal and as Pope Benedict XVI, one of Josef Ratzinger’s consistent concerns has been the foundational moral imperatives of the natural law. In 2004, then Cardinal Ratzinger requested that the University of Notre Dame study the complex issues embedded in discussions about “natural rights” and “natural law” in the context of Catholic thinking. To that end, Alasdair MacIntyre provided a substantive essay on the foundational problem of moral disagreements concerning natural law, and eight scholars were invited to respond to MacIntyre’s essay, either by addressing his work directly or by amplifying his argument along other yet similar paths. The contributors to this volume are theologians, philosophers, civil and canon lawyers, and political scientists, who reflect on these issues from different disciplinary perspectives. Once the contributors’ essays were completed, MacIntyre responded with a closing essay. Throughout the book, the contributors ask: Can a persuasive case for a foundational morality be made etsi Deus daretur (as if God did not exist)? And, of course, persuasive to whom? The exchanges that take place between MacIntyre and his interlocutors result, not in answers, but in rigorous attempts at clarification. Intractable Disputes about the Natural Law will interest ethicists, moral theologians, and students and scholars of moral philosophy.
From Being to the Other
Intrigues: From Being to the Other examines the possibility of writing the other, explores whether an ethical writing that preserves the other as such is possible, and discusses what the implications are for an ethically inflected criticism. Emmanuel Levinas and Maurice Blanchot, whose works constitute the most thorough contemporary exploration of the question of the other and of its relation to writing, are the main focus of this study. The book's horizon is ethics in the Levinasian sense: the question of the other, which, on the hither side of language understood as a system of signs and of representation, must be welcomed by language and preserved in its alterity. Martin Heidegger is an unavoidable reference, however. While it is true that for the German philosopher Being is an immanent production, his elucidation of a more essential understanding of Being entails a deconstruction of onto-theology, of the sign and the grammatical and logical determinations of language, all decisive starting points for both Levinas and Blanchot.At stake for both Levinas and Blanchot, then, is how to mark a nondiscursive excess within discourse without erasing or reducing it. How should one read and write the other in the same without reducing the other to the same?Critics in recent years have discussed an ethical moment or turncharacterized by the other's irruption into the order of discourse. The other becomes a true crossroads of disciplines, since it affects several aspects of discourse: the constitution of the subject, the status of knowledge, the nature of representation, and what that representation represses (gender, power). Yet there has been a tendency to graft the other onto paradigms whose main purpose is to reassess questions of identity, fundamentally in terms of representation; the other thus loses some of its most crucial features.Through close readings of texts by Heidegger, Levinas, and Blanchot the book examines how the question of the other engages the very limits of philosophy, rationality, and power.
Between Religion and Philosophy
Seeking to renew an ancient companionship between the philosophical andthe religious, this book's meditative chapters dwell on certain elementalexperiences or happenings that keep the soul alive to the enigma of the divine.William Desmond engages the philosophical work of Pascal, Kant, Hegel,Nietzsche, Shestov, and Soloviev, among others, and pursues with a philosophicalmindfulness what is most intimate in us, yet most universal: sleep, poverty,imagination, courage and witness, reverence, hatred and love, peace and war.Being religious has to do with that intimate universal, beyond arbitrarysubjectivism and reductionist objectivism.In this book, he attempts to look at religion with a fresh and open mind,asking how philosophy might itself stand up to some of the questions posed toit by religion, not just how religion might stand up to the questions posed to it byphilosophy. Desmond tries to pursue a new and different policy, one faithfulto the light of this dialogue.
In the atmosphere of suspicion and anger that characterizes our time, it is a joy to hear the voice of Iqbal, both passionate and serene. It is the voice of a soul that is deeply anchored in the Quranic Revelation, and precisely for that reason, open to all the other voices, seeking in them the path of his own fidelity. It is the voice of a man who has left behind all identitarian rigidity, who has 'broken all the idols of tribe and caste' to address himself to all human beings. But an unhappy accident has meant that this voice was buried, both in the general forgetting of Islamic modernism and in the very country that he named before its existence, Pakistan, whose multiple rigidities ñ political, religious, military ñ constitute a continual refutation of the very essence of his thought. But we all need to hear him again, citizens of the West, Muslims, and those from his native India, where a form of Hindu chauvinism rages in our times, in a way that exceeds his worst fears. Souleymane Bachir Diagne has done all of us an immense favor in making this voice heard once again, clear and convincing. Charles Taylor, Professor, McGill University Quebec, Canada
Donald Capps and John Capps's James and Dewey on Belief and Experience juxtaposes the key writings of two philosophical superstars. As fathers of Pragmatism, America's unique contribution to world philosophy, their work has been enormously influential, and remains essential to any understanding of American intellectual history. _x000B__x000B_In these essays, you'll find William James deeply embroiled in debates between religion and science. Combining philosophical charity with logical clarity, he defended the validity of religious experience against crass forms of scientism. Dewey identified the myriad ways in which supernatural concerns distract religious adherents from pressing social concerns, and sought to reconcile the tensions inherent in science's dual embrace of common sense and the aesthetic._x000B_ _x000B_James and Dewey on Belief and Experience is divided into two sections: the former showcases James, the latter is devoted to Dewey. Two transitional passages in which each reflects on the work of the other bridge these two main segments. Together, the sections offer a unique perspective on the philosophers' complex relationship of influence and interdependence. An editors' introduction provides biographical information about both men, an overview of their respective philosophical orientations, a discussion of the editorial process, and a brief commentary on each of the selections._x000B__x000B_Comparing what these foremost pragmatists wrote on both themes illumines their common convictions regarding the nature of philosophical inquiry and simultaneously reveals what made each a distinctive thinker.
Rosenzweig, Buber, Levinas, Wittgenstein
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.
Itinerarium Mentis in Deum
This new translation of The Journey of the Soul into God - Itinerarium Mentis in Deum - signals a milestone in Bonaventurian scholarship in North America. Based on the famed 1956 Boehner edition, this volume presents the text with a new inclusive-language translation, authoritative notes by Boehner with a new translation of their Latin content, plus the Latin text of the critical edition interfaced with the English text.