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Title: Levinas, Messianism and parody
Author: Holden, Terence Joseph
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2010
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Levinas has come to be seen as one of the principle representatives in contemporary thought of a certain philosophically articulated concept of 'messianism'. On the one hand, the appeal by philosophy to messianism is conceived by many as a 'turn' within postmodern thought broadly conceived towards a theology and ethics. On the other hand, there is the closely related consensus that Levinas‘ messianism is an expression of a certain 'correlation' between 'philosophy' and 'Judaism', a correlation in which Judaism becomes the suppressed voice of conscience of the latter. We revisit some of the consensuses upon which these related understandings are based. Firstly, we consider whether the heterogeneity of Levinas‘ different articulations of the messianic dimension should be emphasized, a heterogeneity which defies simple classification. Secondly, we consider whether Levinas‘ thought can properly be called messianic as such: we emphasize the functional character of messianism in Levinas, and how messianism is structurally re-ordered according to the function it takes on. We explore namely the manner in which messianic discourse in Levinas is implicated in the construction of a certain humanism, and how it is called upon to negotiate the obstacles which such a construction faces. Re-ordered according to this regime, we consider whether what unites the various expressions of messianism in Levinas is not the articulation of a discourse which progressively realizes its non-eschatological status. We frame this thesis in terms of what we call the 'parody' of messianism, a notion we derive from Nietzsche. This complicates any notion of a 'turn' within postmodernism; and yet it can be shown to be an intensification of a certain tendency at work already within normative Judaism.
Supervisor: Cox, James ; Adams, Nick Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Levinas ; messianism ; philosophical turn