Michael Fagenblat, A Covenant of Creatures: Levinas' Philosophy of Judaism (Stanford)
"I am not a particularly Jewish thinker," said Emmanuel Levinas, "I am just a thinker." This book argues against the idea, affirmed by Levinas himself, that Totality and Infinity and Otherwise Than Being separate philosophy from Judaism. By reading Levinas's philosophical works through the prism of Judaic texts and ideas, Michael Fagenblat argues that what Levinas called "ethics" is as much a hermeneutical product wrought from the Judaic heritage as a series of phenomenological observations. Decoding the Levinas's philosophy of Judaism within a Heideggerian and Pauline framework, Fagenblat uses biblical, rabbinic, and Maimonidean texts to provide sustained interpretations of the philosopher's work. Ultimately he calls for a reconsideration of the relation between tradition and philosophy, and of the meaning of faith after the death of epistemology.
"This is a rich and sophisticated study of one of the most vital and influential thinkers of the twentieth century. Exploring Levinas's philosophy of Judaism from his philosophical rather than his confessional writings, Michael Fagenblat provides a fresh model that breaks down simplistic distinctions and opens the in-between space wherein the claim of the individual is held accountable through the response to the other and the challenge of the other is redeemed by the demand of the individual."—Elliot R. Wolfson, New York University