The violent death of Landauer in May 1919 at the end of the Räterepublik of Munich left several of his best friends with a terrible feeling: a sense of tension between the unique hopes incarnated by Landauer and the spiritual and political void his passing left behind. This article is an attempt to capture the tragic shift from a living revolutionary who projected his unique anarchist views onto the failed Munich Revolution to the efforts of a group of close friends who searched to save their dear Landauer from the infamy of failure, making of his months in Munich and his death an important amendment to his spiritual and political legacy.
This paper investigates a sibling metaphor central to Rosenzweig’s reading of the Song of Songs in The Star of Redemption, in which the lovers yearn to be united in societal fraternity. His interpretation is marked by fraternal tropes and the subsequent effacement of gender. Rosenzweig transposes the erotic energy in the Song from a celebration of difference to a longing for sameness, a move that has exegetical, philosophical, and theological implications. Ultimately, the erotic sphere of revelation is surpassed by neighborly “brotherliness” in communal redemption.
In his Jerusalem, Moses Mendelssohn describes a Polynesian visitor to Dessau before traveling to India by way of ancient Jerusalem. In two pages, Mendelssohn has crossed the world, doing so to argue that in spite of their cultural differences, most human beings ultimately share basic salvific religious truths. This paper explores the religious universalism reflected in this striking passage, analyzes Mendelssohn’s cultural sensitivity and pluralism, and offers a characterization of the particularities of Mendelssohn’s Jewish universalism as well as concluding thoughts on the varieties of universalism more generally.
This article presents an analysis of the conception of prophecy that Gershom Scholem developed in his early essay “On Jonah and the Concept of Justice” (1919). I argue that Scholem did not so much develop a theological interpretation of the nature of prophecy but was rather concerned with the philosophical issues of time and justice. These concerns are demonstrably related to his friend Walter Benjamin’s interests in the late 1910s and early 1920s. Scholem’s philosophical reflections on prophecy, therefore, offer a unique insight into the complex intellectual relation between him and Benjamin.
This article explores the ascetic tendencies of Naḥmanides (R. Moses ben Naḥman, ca. 1194–1270) as reflected in his oeuvre as a whole, including his halakhic, kabbalistic, exegetical, and philosophical output. A close examination of Naḥmanides’s kabbalistic commentary to a talmudic sugiya concerning the differences between oaths and vows uncovers the austere and ascetic ethos in his teaching and its central place in his religious world. This perspective is linked to the nature of human beings and the human soul, the relationship between body and psyche, the meaning of life and the overcoming of death, and the status of the Torah and the connection between observance of the commandments and the voluntary hasidic ethos.
This paper will discuss how the theological turn within phenomenology has contributed to the further development of discussions concerning Husserl’s distinction between the lived body (Leib) of the “flesh” and the extrinsically manifest “seen” body (Körper) by re-appropriating Christianity’s emphasis upon incarnation, as exemplified in the work of Michel Henry and Emmanuel Falque. For Henry, an additional “reduction to the flesh” must be enacted in order to overcome the dualistic opposition between “phenomenal body” on the one hand, and the living medium of flesh on the other, for the sake of returning to the original givenness of life. Yet, Falque criticizes Henry’s position as a kind of monism, just as problematic as the very dichotomy which it aims to criticize. Falque argues instead that the flesh must always be incorporated, “given back” to the body as a unity, possessing not only affect and life, but also solidity and visibility.