Levinas Studies

Volume 13, 2019

Levinas Reading

Michael Fishbane
Pages 11-26

“Seeing the Voices”
Enchaining the Chains of Tradition (Reading Levinas Reading Talmud)

Rabbinic Talmudic tradition is marked by chains of tradition, integrating written Scripture (as prooftext) and oral Traditions (as exegesis). The interrelation of word, voice, and instruction is paramount. Levinas’s reading of Talmudic texts follows this format and continues this tradition, by superimposing his voice and philosophical concerns. I have chosen his reading of Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Makkot 10a as an exemplum. In the process, Levinas’s style and method can be seen as a contemporary meta-commentary on the ancient rabbinic source.