A Phenomenological Midrash of Genesis 22
Preface he dynamics of life is a hinge on which truths revolve, yet this hinge is more foundational than any truth produced by relations. For exam- ple, my love for my parents is a dynamic relation that is more than any truth about love or any explanation of love. In other words, loving my parents cannot be nicely packaged in a truth container; loving my parents is more than any truth or explanation of love. In fact, the dynamic continu- ally upends “truths” in the philosophical sense; meanings derived from re- lations with my parents are more than any truth can capture. It is here where one begins to wonder about the philosophical consequences for eth- ics. If meaning overflows truth or truths, what becomes of a tradition of ethics that searches for truth or foundations that inform our behavior? In response to that question, this book explains and uniquely demon- strates the Jewish dialogic concerns of Franz Rosenzweig, Martin Buber and, most notably, Emmanuel Levinas, contrasting their ideas with tradi- tional, Western philosophical approaches to ethics. These three Jewish phi- losophers explain that traditional Western philosophers discussing ethics have concerned themselves with answering the question “what is ethics?” The question presupposes there is an essential answer, which is the truth that can be found. More often than not, this question sets off a search for an answer unconditioned by human encounters and is then adopted at the expense of normative ethical approaches, something seen as a fundamental error according...
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