Levinas, Benjamin, and the oppressed

Levinas, Benjamin, and the oppressed ISSN 1053-699X print; ISSN 1477-285X online/03/020123-16 © 2003 Taylor & Francis Ltd DOI: 10.1080/1053699032000321420 The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy , August, 2003, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 123–138 Levinas, Benjamin, and the Oppressed Annabel Herzog University of Haifa, Israel Passages and Impasses Any attempt to read Levinas and Benjamin conjointly might, at first glance, seem somewhat contrived. Levinas was an ethical philosopher and Benjamin’s work is generally seen as literary criticism. It would be more than trite to observe that Benjamin’s interest in Romanticism and Marxism does not match Levinas’s phenomeno- logical influences and that his mystical attention to Kabbalah is rejected by Levinas, who preferred Talmudic sources. Furthermore, Benjamin and Levinas wrote during different historical periods: the “pile of ruins” watched by the horrified “Angel of History” in 1940 seems benign in comparison with the mounds of ashes faced by the witness of Auschwitz and Hiroshima. All of this explains why an affinity between these authors has been noted, but never explored at length. 1 In this paper, I will attempt to explore this affinity, which appears in spite of the clear differences between these two thinkers. I will examine what could be called passages http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy Brill

Levinas, Benjamin, and the oppressed

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2003 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1053-699X
eISSN
1477-285X
D.O.I.
10.1163/1053699032000321420
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

ISSN 1053-699X print; ISSN 1477-285X online/03/020123-16 © 2003 Taylor & Francis Ltd DOI: 10.1080/1053699032000321420 The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy , August, 2003, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 123–138 Levinas, Benjamin, and the Oppressed Annabel Herzog University of Haifa, Israel Passages and Impasses Any attempt to read Levinas and Benjamin conjointly might, at first glance, seem somewhat contrived. Levinas was an ethical philosopher and Benjamin’s work is generally seen as literary criticism. It would be more than trite to observe that Benjamin’s interest in Romanticism and Marxism does not match Levinas’s phenomeno- logical influences and that his mystical attention to Kabbalah is rejected by Levinas, who preferred Talmudic sources. Furthermore, Benjamin and Levinas wrote during different historical periods: the “pile of ruins” watched by the horrified “Angel of History” in 1940 seems benign in comparison with the mounds of ashes faced by the witness of Auschwitz and Hiroshima. All of this explains why an affinity between these authors has been noted, but never explored at length. 1 In this paper, I will attempt to explore this affinity, which appears in spite of the clear differences between these two thinkers. I will examine what could be called passages

Journal

The Journal of Jewish Thought and PhilosophyBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2003

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