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Abstract

Since Emmanuel Levinas declared in Totality and Infinity (1961) that Franz Rosenzweig’s The Star of Redemption is “too often present” in his own work “to be cited,” an uninterrupted affinity between the two authors has been assumed. Nevertheless, throughout his æuvre, Levinas frequently underlines the philosophical differences marking his and Rosenzweig’s thought. In this article, I endeavor to demonstrate that the concept of redemption and salvation are wholly incompatible in Rosenzweig’s and Levinas’s philosophies. Whereas Rosenzweig pleads for a Jewish redemptive model that turns towards Judaism’s past, Levinas seeks to mobilize Judaism’s salvific potential in the name of a common human future. It is this conjunction between salvation and futurity that allows Levinas to establish a notion of the Kingdom of God that can redeem humanity from its own catastrophe after the Shoah.

In: European Journal of Jewish Studies
In: Athenäum - 21. Jahrgang 2011
In: Athenäum

In Book iii of The Star of Redemption, Franz Rosenzweig contrasts Judaism and Christianity: Judaism consists in the eternal passage of a people from creation to revelation; it suspends the divide between God’s presence and his worldly manifestation. For Rosenzweig, being Jewish means to be with God in the world. Christianity, however, defers salvation. While Judaism is with God in the world, Christianity retreats from God and the world. Christianity therefore has no “immediacy.” How can both Judaism and Christianity then live in immediacy with God in the world? Seeking to overcome Rosenzweig’s dichotomy, I endeavor to think an immediate relationship with God in the world by turning to one of Rosenzweig’s “biggest names”: Hermann Cohen. Following Cohen, I take it that Judeo-Christian continuity begins before both religions. I wish to explore the passage from the origin to the prophetic that constitutes the idea of a “pure monotheism” in Cohen’s philosophy.

In: The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy