Volume 3, 2008
Johan F. Goud
“What one asks of oneself, one asks of a saint”
A Dialogue with Emmanuel Levinas, 1980–81
This text is an account of two conversations with Professor Emma nuel Levinas (1906–1995) in his home in Paris. The first conversation took place July 22, 1980, the second on October 29, 1981. A few questions on paper and an article of mine served as introduction and point of departure for the conversations. Originally it was not my intention to publish the conversations as an “interview.” The idea of making the account of the conversations acceptable for publication only arose later. The original accounts, based on recordings, had to be shortened and worked over considerably to get a coherent text that is interesting for a broader public.
Olivier van Wersch-Cot has been very helpful to me through his knowledge of the French language. I am very grateful to Prof. Levinas not only for the friendly way he received me and conversed with me, but also for his consent for the publication of the definitive text.