7/18/2005

Why I Love Levinas

I just finished reading "Beyond the Verse", an English translation of a bunch of Talmudic lectures delivered by Levinas. His stuff consistently blew me away. In this book, he comes off as a great apologist for Rabbinic Judaism, and consistenly sets Talmudic reasoning as a counterpoint to the Greek philosophic tradition.

But that's not his greatness. His writings contain a comprehensive Jewish sustem, with a nexus of Revelation, Exegesis, Heteronomy, Responsibility, and Ethics at its core.

This guy is a really important Jewish thinker who has been completely neglected within our circles. We can't let the academics keep the monopoly on this guy. I'd estimate that the translator of the work that I just read missed about half of Levinas' references to Biblical and Rabbinic passages! We need to rescue and redeem him!

It's not easy reading, but it's extremely rewarding. If you start reading and have some difficulty with his vocabulary, email me. I'll try to help if I can.

A while ago, I listed thinkers who will be important in the emerging postmodern Halakhic Judaism. Forget the list. It's going to be R' Kook, R. Dr. Berkovits, and Levinas.
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