This article traces a logical and political thread leading from the theory of revolt in Furio Jesi's 1969 Spartakus to his later work on festivity and the “mythological machine model.” It opens by arguing that the humanist model that frames Jesi's early efforts to disarm the allure of insurgent violence, sacrificial mythology, and Manichaean politics generates insoluble aporias that spur the development of a radically different approach to the study of myth and human nature. Next, it shows how Jesi's studies (...) on festivity from the 1970s redound upon and transform the theory of revolt in Spartakus, bringing this theory more in line with current epochal conditions. In doing so, they presage and lay the groundwork for the theory of destituent power developed in recent decades by Giorgio Agamben. (shrink)
This article evaluates Furio Jesi’s conception of mythic violence, focusing in particular on his theory of revolt as a mode of collective experience qualitatively distinct from that of revolution. Jesi offers both a descriptive phenomenology of how uprisings alter the human experience of time and action, as well as a critique of the “autonomy” these moments afford their participants. In spite of their immense transformative power to interrupt historical time and generate alternate forms of collective subjectivation, the event-like structure of (...) revolt also harbors within it a unique set of dangers. Such creative mutations risk trapping political actors within a relational logic of the exception, a “ban” structure that, although distinct from the atomization that governs normal time, ultimately works to reinforce it in the long run. The article concludes by suggesting that Jesi’s late concept of the “cruel festival” offers a troubling premonition of our current era, in which revolts proliferate in the absence of any ideological horizon of revolution. (shrink)
The years following Israel’s founding were formative ones for the development of philosophy as an academic discipline in this country. During this period, the distinction between philosophy seen as contiguous with the humanities and social sciences, and philosophy seen as adjacent to the natural and exact sciences began to make its presence felt in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. This distinction, which was manifest in the curriculum, was by no means unique to the Hebrew University, but reflected the broader bifurcation (...) between two schools of Western philosophy in the twentieth century. In English-speaking countries, it is generally referred to as the divide between analytic and continental philosophy. What was special about the situation at the Hebrew University, however, was that the split manifested itself in a rather small department, being embodied, basically, in one prominent representative of each school – Nathan Rotenstreich and Yehoshua Bar-Hillel. This article will focus on some key aspects of the lives and thought of Rotenstreich and Bar-Hillel. It will address their philosophical maturation as S.H. Bergmann’s students, their views on the goals of twentieth-century philosophy, on the philosopher’s role in public life, and the circumstances under which they started teaching in Jerusalem right after the founding of the State of Israel. (shrink)
Contrary to the classical denial of bodily attributes or human emotions to God, both Samson Raphael Hirsch and Franz Rosenzweig embrace biblical anthropomorphisms. Their views on anthropomorphisms are part of their critiques of philosophy, especially of the basic preconceptions of the philosophical approach to the concept of God. This article analyses their positions by examining Hirsch’s commentaries on scripture (especially Gen 6:6), and Rosenzweig’s “A Note on Anthropomorphisms in Response to the Encyclopedia Judaica’s Article.” Through a close reading and interpretation (...) of Rabad of Posquiére’s famous animadversion against Maimonides’s rule concerning heretics, this paper retraces the rabbinical roots of Hirsch’s and Rosenzweig’s approach to anthropomorphisms. (shrink)
Todat Yehoshua (1935), a Hasidic commentary on the Passover Haggadah by Rabbi Yehoshua Heschel Rabinowitz of Monastyrishche, Ukraine, later of Brownsville, New York, offers an important perspective on Orthodox experience in North America in the interwar period. On his reading, the Haggadah invites an understanding of history that recognizes and contends with all that is radically unholy: from secularism, enlightenment, and Zionism in the Jewish camp, to Marxism, communism, anarchy, Nazism, and contemporary antisemitism. As a Hasidic tsadik and émigré rabbi, (...) R. Yehoshua Heschel sought to revitalize religion as an existentially vital facet of being, while encouraging those around him to forge a Jewish identity loyal to the past and empowered to rise to the challenges of the present. (shrink)
I will argue that the underlying rationale for the talmudic list of trades disqualified from legal testimony is aesthetic. These trades involved professional mimicry, which as such incapacitated what R. Neis has termed “homovisuality” or self-referential witnessing in the Talmud. Reading talmudic laws of conjoined testimony and the induction of witnesses in light of Deleuze’s and Blanchot’s philosophy, I will argue that homovisuality entailed the witness’s reincarnation as the subject of the event, thus re-signifying rather than reporting the event. The (...) judge, transformed into a witness, could capture the truth of the event at a glance, in a manner both prior to and irreducible to trial procedures. (shrink)
This paper analyzes the treatment of nature and technology in the writings of two prominent early Zionist thinkers, A. D. Gordon and Theodor Herzl. At the heart of Herzl’s vision, we find technocrats applying industrial systems to dominate the naked nature that Gordon is committed to preserve. Gordon, in contrast, describes Jewish national revival as triggered by farmers utilizing Eretz Israel’s natural world to extract Jews from industrial society, underwriting Herzl’s Zionist vision. Expanding the analysis to the domains of nature (...) and technology reveals the two thinkers’ creeds to be rival Zionist ideologies in which nature and technology serve as catalysts for competing visions of national revival. (shrink)
This article examines communication between a human being and God in the Jewish philosophy of Hermann Cohen (1842–1918). The article focuses on two distinct forms of biblical communication: lyrical psalms and a godly revelation in a still small voice. It investigates Cohen’s Jewish philosophy in light of communication theories to deepen the philosophical and theoretical discussion. The article examines previously unexplored ideas in Cohen’s writings, analyzes his religious perceptions in terms of communication, and at the same time expands the concept (...) of communication. This new perspective sheds new light on Cohen’s Jewish philosophy and offers a new philosophic perception of divine-human communication. (shrink)
This volume contains essays by some of the leading scholars in the study of the Jewish religious ideas in the Second Temple period, that led up to the development of early forms of Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity. Close attention is paid to the cosmological ideas to be found in the Ancient Near East and in the Hebrew Bible and to the manner in which the translators of the Hebrew Bible into Greek reflected the creativity with which Judaism engaged Hellenistic ideas (...) about the cosmos and the creation. The concepts of heaven and divine power, human mortality, the forces of nature, combat myths, and the philosophy of wisdom, as they occur in 2 Maccabees, Ben Sira, Wisdom of Solomon and Tobit, are carefully analysed and compared with Greek and Roman world-views. There are also critical examinations of Dead Sea scroll texts, early Jewish prayers and Hebrew liturgical poetry and how they these adopt, adapt and alter earlier ideas. The editors have included appreciations of two major figures who played important roles in the study of the Second Temple period and in the history and development of the ISDCL, namely, Otto Kaiser and Alexander Di Lella, who died recently and are greatly missed by those in the field."--Provided by publisher. (shrink)
The Maimonides Review of Philosophy and Religion is an annual collection of double-blind peer-reviewed articles that seeks to provide a broad international arena for an intellectual exchange of ideas between the disciplines of philosophy, theology, religion, cultural history, and literature and to showcase their multifarious junctures within the framework of Jewish studies. Contributions to the Review place special thematic emphasis on scepticism within Jewish thought and its links to other religious traditions and secular worldviews. The Review is interested in the (...) tension at the heart of matters of reason and faith, rationalism and mysticism, theory and practice, narrativity and normativity, doubt and dogma. (shrink)
Leibniz’s interest in the Talmud and in Jewish philosophy and theology in general, is well established in the scholarly literature. In this paper, we suggest a short comparative study of Leibniz’s concept of the monad and the Talmudic idea of “Malchut.” Our study is based, specifically, on a tractate of the Talmud titled Yoma. This tractate is mainly focused on the Jewish Atonement Day, in which Jews are judged by God for their sins in the previous year. In particular, in (...) pages 38a-b of Yoma, the Talmud reads: “By your name they shall call you, and in your place they shall seat you, and from your own they shall give you; No person may touch that which is prepared for another, and one Malchut does not touch another even to the extent of a hairbreadth.” The Talmud suggests here that even though we somehow influence one another’s life, one cannot directly affect others’ predetermined place in the world or interfere in the individual paths prepared for others. In this paper, we aim to indicate the similarities between such Talmudic notions and Leibniz’s ideas in the Monadology – such as the ideas that monads have “no windows” and that a pre-established harmony is set among all monads by God – as a ground for future research. (shrink)
Unlike some other reproductions of classic texts (1) We have not used OCR(Optical Character Recognition), as this leads to bad quality books with introduced typos. (2) In books where there are images such as portraits, maps, sketches etc We have endeavoured to keep the quality of these images, so they represent accurately the original artefact. Although occasionally there may be certain imperfections with these old texts, we feel they deserve to be made available for future generations to enjoy.
Einleitung.--Der streit der alten und der neueren in der philosophie des judentums (bemerkungen zu Julius Guttmann, Die philosophie des judentums)--Die gesetzliche begründung der philosophie (das gebot des philosophierens und die freiheit des philosophierens)--Die philosophische begründung des gesetzes (Maimunis lehre von der prophetie und ihre quellen).