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Difficult Freedom

Paperback
, 320 pages
ISBN:
9780801857836
December 1990
$29.00

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Difficult Freedom

Essays on Judaism

Jean Paul Sartre hailed him as the philosopher who introduced France to Husserl and Heidegger. Derrida has paid him homage as "master." An original philosopher who combines the insights of phenomenological analysis with those of Jewish spirituality, Emmanuel Levinas has proven to be of extraordinary importance in the history of modern thought. Collecting Levinas's important writings on religion, Difficult Freedom contributes to a growing debate about the significance of religion—particularly Judaism and Jewish spiritualism—in European philosophy. Topics include ethics, aesthetics, politics, messianism, Judaism and women, and Jewish-Christian relations, as well as the work of Spinoza, Hegel, Heidegger, Franz Rosenzweig, Simone Weil, and Jules Issac.

Emmanuel Levinas was born in Kaunas, Lithuania, in 1906, and became a naturalized French citizen in 1930. His many books include Existences and Essences and Otherwise Than Being or Beyond Essence. He died in Paris in 1995.

"Insofar as these confessional writings continue to a certain extent Levinas's meditations on the face, they are considered essential to a serious appraisal of his work as a whole. But there are additional reasons why these writings are of substantial interest. First, they make explicit a dimension in Levinas's work—its inspiration in or reference to Judaism—that is only implicit in the philosophical work... Secondly, these confessional writings in themselves constitute a remarkable access to and 'translation' of Judaism."