Observations on Jewish Philosophy and Feminist Thought

By Ravven, Heidi M. | Judaism: A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life and Thought, Fall 1997 | Go to article overview

Observations on Jewish Philosophy and Feminist Thought


Ravven, Heidi M., Judaism: A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life and Thought


In a recent volume, Jewish philosophers and Jewish Philosophy, Michael L. Morgan has brought together essays of Emil Fackenheim spanning five decades that are devoted to assessing the history, the present practice, and the future of Jewish philosophy.(1) In his insightful introduction, Morgan points out that Emil Fackenheim redefines the encounter between philosophy and Judaism as not one between "the abstract" and "the specific," "the theoretical" and "the practical," "the eternal" and "the historical."(2) Instead, Judaism and philosophy are both historically situated as is their encounter; neither is unchanging and both have transcendent as well as empirical dimensions.(3) Morgan characterizes Fackenheim's understanding of Jewish philosophy as that discourse which "involves both the Jewish heritage and the philosophical tradition in dialectical, reciprocal exposures to each other and to the historical situation in which they occur."(4) Thus the encounter between Judaism and philosophy is three-pronged, not two-pronged - namely among history, Judaism, and philosophy - and it admits not only of a large number of permutations but of mutual incursions insofar as history is not a category exclusively external to either philosophy or Judaism, to which they must respond, but rather, historical development is internal to each of them as well. Neither Judaism nor philosophy is static but rather each is itself historically situated and articulated. At the same time, events proceed on the stage of history at least in part independently of both Judaism and philosophy. Thus, it is a different philosophy that meets both a different Judaism and also a different external historical situation in each era of their encounter.

In several of the essays in this volume, Emil Fackenheim identifies "problems that are [both] genuinely philosophical," and, at the same time, "distinctively Jewish." The existence of such problems he argues is the sine qua non for establishing a contemporary practice of Jewish philosophy as a bona fide subdiscipline within philosophy? He sets out to demonstrate that such problems do in fact exist and that they are not only extant but also of general importance, posing urgent challenges not only for Jews but for philosophy as a whole. Thus recent Jewish history poses challenges not only to traditional Jewish self-understandings nor even only to Jewish philosophical self-understandings in the light of modern philosophy, but these historical events directly affecting the Jews as a people pose important philosophical problems of general concern. The Holocaust, the paradigmatic example, poses a general challenge to philosophy, to the philosophical assessment of humanity, and to the standard accounts of the nature of evil, as well. As a Jewish problem it raises the question: How ought we as Jews to respond in our self-conception and in our conception of Judaism to the reality of radical evil, and to a radical evil that was directed at us? As a philosophical problem (raised by us but for us and everyone else) it raises the issue: How can we come to terms with the evil embodied in the Holocaust in its effects on our concepts of humanity and of the nature of evil? Emil Fackenheim was the first to speak at the American Philosophical Association on December 30, 1985 on the philosophical implications of the Holocaust and now, years after his introduction of it, a vibrant contemporary discourse on it continues both in the APA and in North American universities. "To avoid self-immersion in the Holocaust would be to lapse into escapism - to be unphilosophical," he writes. "It would be unphilosophical for Jewish and general philosophy alike." Michael Morgan devotes Part II of the volume exclusively to essays of Fackenheim on "The Holocaust and Philosophy."

The other recent historical event of unprecedented Jewish significance, the return of the Jews to an autonomous political life in their ancient homeland after nearly two millennia of being" a people cut off from it by the power of enemies,"(6) also poses philosophical problems, Fackenheim holds. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Observations on Jewish Philosophy and Feminist Thought
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.