Emil L. Fackenheim

Philosopher, Theologian, Jew

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Emil L. Fackenheim: Philosopher, Theologian, Jew is a scholarly tribute to Fackenheim’s memory. Fackenheim’s combination of erudition and generosity served to inspire a lifetime of philosophical inquiry, and a number of his students are represented in this volume. The volume, in order to provide a forum through which to introduce his thought to a broader audience, covers a wide spectrum of Fackenheim’s work including biographical, philosophical, and theological aspects of his thought that have not been addressed adequately in the past. Elie Wiesel, a close personal friend to Fackenheim for over 30 years, has provided the Foreword for the volume.
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Biographical Note

Sharon Portnoff, Ph.D. (2005) in Jewish Philosophy, Jewish Theological Seminary, is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Pomona College. She has delivered papers on Primo Levi, Dante, Louis Zukofsky and Emil L. Fackenheim, and her poems have appeared in Midstream and Chants. She is currently working on a book, tentatively titled The Interface of Fiction and Reality: Primo Levi’s Use of Dante’s Inferno in Se questo è un uomo.
James A. Diamond, Ph.D. (1999) in Philosophy, University of Toronto, LL.M. (1979), New York University School of Law, is the Joseph and Wolf Lebovic Chair of Jewish Studies and Director of the Friedberg Genizah Project, at the University of Waterloo, Ontario. His publications include Maimonides and the Hermeneutics of Concealment, (winner of Canadian Jewish Book Award, 2002), Converts, Heretics and Lepers: Maimonides and the Outsider, and articles in such journals as AJS Review, Jewish History, Jewish Quarterly Review, Jewish Studies Quarterly, The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy, Medieval Philosophy and Theology, Philosophy and Literature and Vetus Testamentum.
Martin D. Yaffe, Ph.D. (1968) in Philosophy, Claremont Graduate University, is Professor of Philosophy and Religion Studies at University of North Texas. He is the author of Shylock and the Jewish Question and Judaism and Environmental Ethics: A Reader, co-translator of Aquinas’ Literal Exposition on the Book of Job and translator of Spinoza’s Theologico-Political Treatise, the philosophical founding-document of both modern biblical criticism and modern liberal democracy. He is currently completing a translation from the German of Leo Strauss’s essays on Moses Mendelssohn, originally contained in the Jubilee Edition of Mendelssohn’s works (1929ff.), of which Strauss was a co-editor.

Review Quotes

“The overall aim of the book, ‘to provide a forum through which to introduce Fackenheim’s though to a broader audience’ (5), is well served by the scope and depth of the essays gathered here, a good many of which were written by former students of Fackenheim for whom their teacher’s legacy clearly provides a continuing provocation.”

Philip G. Ziegler, in Studies in Religion, Vol. 41, No. 3

Table of contents

CONTENTS
Foreword by Elie Wiesel
Introductory Remarks
Sharon Portnoff
PART ONE FACKENHEIM THEN AND NOW
Fackenheim in the Fifties
John Burbidge
Between Halle and Jerusalem
Michael Oppenheim
Fackenheim’s Hermeneutical Circle
Michael L. Morgan
Thought Going to School with Life? Fackenheim’s Last Philosophical Testament
Benjamin Pollock
Fackenheim’s Paradoxical 614th Commandment: Some Personal Reflections
Martin J. Plax
PART TWO THE PHILOSOPHICAL DIMENSION OF FACKENHEIM’S THOUGHT
Historicism and Revelation in Emil Fackenheim’s Self-Distancing from Leo Strauss
Martin D. Yaffe
Leo Strauss’s Challenge to Emil Fackenheim: Heidegger, Radical Historicism, and Diabolical Evil
Kenneth Hart Green
Fackenheim’s Hegelian Return to Contingency
Sharon Portnoff
Judaism and the Tragic Vision: Emil Fackenheim and the Problem of Dirty Hands
Sam Ajzenstat
A Time for Emil Fackenheim, A Time for Baruch Spinoza
Heidi Morrison Ravven
PART THREE THE RELIGIOUS DIMENSION OF FACKENHEIM’S THOUGHT
Rabbi Fackenheim and Philosophical Encounter with Elijah’s Wager
James A. Diamond
Tikkun in Fackenheim’s Leben-Denken as a Trace of Lurianic Kabbalah
Aubrey L. Glazer
In Search of a Meaningful Theology of the Holocaust: Reflections on Fackenheim’s 614th Commandment
Lionel Rubinoff
Emil Fackenheim and the Levitical Order of Thinking
Michael Kigel

Readership

All those interested in modern Jewish philosophy, Holocaust theology, Emil L. Fackenheim, and the religious encounter with political and idealist philosophy.

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