This title presents an analysis of 'messianism' in Continental philosophy, using a case study of Levinas to uncover its underlying philosophical intelligibility. There is no greater testament to Emmanuel Levinas' reputation as an enigmatic thinker than in his mediations on eschatology and its relevance for contemporary thought. Levinas has come to be seen as a principle representative in Continental philosophy - alongside the likes of Heidegger, Benjamin, Adorno and Zizek - of a certain philosophical messianism, differing from its religious counterpart in being formulated apparently without appeal to any dogmatic content. To date, however, Levinas' messianism has not received the same detailed attention as other aspects of his wide ranging ethical vision. Terence Holden attempts to redress this imbalance, tracing the evolution of the messianic idea across Levinas' career, emphasising the transformations or indeed displacements which this idea undergoes in taking on philosophical intelligibility.
He suggests that, in order to crack the enigma which this idea represents, we must consider not only the Jewish tradition from which Levinas draws inspiration, but also Nietzsche, who ostensibly would represent the greatest rival to the messianic idea in the history of philosophy, with his notion of the 'parody' of messianism. This groundbreaking series offers original reflections on theory and method in the study of religions, and demonstrates new approaches to the way religious traditions are studied and presented. Studies published under its auspices look to clarify the role and place of Religious Studies in the academy, but not in a purely theoretical manner. Each study will demonstrate its theoretical aspects by applying them to the actual study of religions, often in the form of frontier research.
Terence Holden received his PhD from the University of Edinburgh, UK. He has also studied at Dartmouth College, USA, and the University of Paris IV, France. He currently lives in Paris.
List of Abbreviations; Introduction; 1. Levinas and Rosenzweig: Messianism and Parody; 2. Levinas, Messianism and Humanism; 3. Messianism and 'Straighforwardness'; 4. Messianism in Totality and Infinity; 5. Messianism in Otherwise than Being; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.