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Levinas Studies

Volume 3, 2008

Bettina Bergo
Pages 117-142
DOI: 10.5840/levinas200838

A Site from which to Hope?
Notes on Sensibility and Meaning in Levinas and Nietzsche

We have now had some two decades of Levinas commentary. What remains to be said? Certainly one thing we have learned since Otherwise than Being is that Levinas’s philosophy and his talmudic and confessional writings nourish each other so profoundly that to approach Levinas without understanding the history of Jewish philosophy — in its confrontations with neo-Platonism, Aristotle, Kant — is to risk misunderstanding Levinas. Insights into the interrelationships between Jewish thought and Levinas’s other humanism have been provided by thinkers like Robert Gibbs, Claire Katz, Catherine Chalier, Shmuel Trigano, and Gérard Bensussan, to name but a few. But if one is not well versed in Jewish thought, will one be liable to abandon Levinas’s thought as an existentialized confessionalism? Perhaps. But I think the loss to philosophy would be considerable.

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