Exemplarity and Chosenness: Rosenzweig and Derrida on the Nation of Philosophy (Cultural Memory in the Present)

By Dana Hollander

Exemplarity and Chosenness is a mixed research of the philosophies of Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) and Franz Rosenzweig (1886-1929) that explores the query: How may perhaps we account for the potential for philosophy, of universalism in considering, with no denying that each one pondering can be idiomatic and specific? The e-book strains Derrida's curiosity during this subject, rather emphasizing his paintings on "philosophical nationality" and his perception that philosophy is challenged in a distinct method by means of its specific "national" instantiations and that, conversely, discourses invoking a nationality include a philosophical ambition, a declare to being "exemplary." Taking as its cue Derrida's readings of German-Jewish authors and his ongoing curiosity in questions of Jewishness, this booklet pairs his philosophy with that of Franz Rosenzweig, who constructed a conception of Judaism for which election is vital and who understood chosenness in an "exemplarist" experience as constitutive of human individuality in addition to of the Jews' function in common human history.

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The secularized language might hence be just a metalinguistic epiphenomenon, a rhetoric, a “façon de parler,” a rhetorical impact of metalanguage. We mustn't ever attempt to conceal this from ourselves; this impact is huge sufficient to predicament, in precept, the totality of the language referred to as technical, goal, medical, or even philosophical. sixty seven but when Scholem’s letter should be learn as an acknowledgment of Rosenzweig’s conception of holy language, and therefore additionally of Rosenzweig’s conception of Jewish messianic existence — including his reservations in regards to the Zionist enterprise — Derrida is however correct to warning us opposed to interpreting this “Confession” as a “concession. ” To make a confession, he issues out, is to interact in a double technique of accusing oneself of a shortcoming whereas no longer pointing out an entire renunciation of that shortcoming — to avow the inadequacy of one’s stance whereas while persisting in that stance. relating to 154   Philosophical Nationality Scholem, the inability he acknowledges in himself will be a “blindness” in regard to Zionism, and Derrida analyzes this acceptance of blindness as essential to the act of confession: One needs to communicate, consequently, to the blind. that's the act of this confession. yet in a confession, the person who broadcasts, cautions, warns, or even accuses, doesn't exclude himself from the full [ensemble] of his addressees. He accuses himself to boot, and he avows his having been unaware of this Zionist blindness that he doesn't, even if, surrender. He merely opposes a vital Zionism or a Zionism to return to real Zionism [au sionisme de fait], to that Zionism that blindly practices an “actualization” of the sacred language with out seeing the abyss. sixty eight consequently, the writer of the confession, as well as generalizing his self-accusation of blindness to surround others like him, additionally singularizes himself as either the topic and item of that self-accusation — a singularization that also is necessary to the act of confessing: Scholem figures as a type of singular, solitary Zionist: not just by myself however the basically Zionist; you possibly can nearly say that he's preaching within the wasteland. Or, relatively: he insists easily at the verge of the abyss — this is his wilderness, his position with no position [son lieu sans lieu] — he insists and sojourns at this unbelievable border. sixty nine In calling Scholem “the basically Zionist,” “preaching within the desert,” Derrida envisions Scholem’s Zionism, and hence his Judaism, in phrases that evoke Derrida’s personal self-descriptions because the “last Jew” — which, as we observed, selfconsciously echoed Rosenzweig’s “Ich bleibe additionally Jude” — and as “the merely Franco-Maghrebian. ” in accordance with this research of Scholem’s self-location, Derrida proposes as a “guiding query” for interpreting Scholem’s letter — a query that “for crucial reasons . . . also will stay unanswered” — to what quantity Scholem envisions renouncing the blindness he describes: even if at this restrict the place no payment is feasible Scholem asks for a shibboleth so as to get out of the abyss or, eventually, for you to rush into it and be engulfed through it [pour s’y engouffrer].

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