By Lévinas, Emmanuel; Lévinas, Emmanuel; Fagenblat, Michael
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Additional resources for A covenant of creatures : Levinas's philosophy of Judaism
71 For Levinas, then, verus Israel designates the new ethical subject, the one who answers to the call of the other. What Badiou says about Paul therefore strikes me as a perfect description of Levinas’s engagement with Judaism: “The task Paul [and Levinas] sets for himself is obviously not that of abolishing Jewish particularity, which he constantly acknowledges as the event’s principle of historicity, but that of animating it internally by everything of which it is capable relative to the new discourse, and hence the new subject.
Much, in every way. For in the first place the Jews were entrusted [episteuthēsan] with the oracles [logia] of God” (3:1–2). The same structure of preserving the law for the Jews while applying its promise to the Gentiles can also be found in Levinas. For the Jewish apostle to the Gentiles as for the Jewish philosopher to the Gentiles, the logia entrusted to the Jews, their revelations and commentaries, are the vehicle for a proclamation addressed to everyone or, rather, to anyone Levinas’s New Creation prepared to respond to them.
Accordingly, ethics is not the passive reception of an absolute given, that mystical face of the Other, but a construction wrought from the on going relationship between moral experience and tradition. It is by embracing the midrashic character of this ethics that we desublimate its gestural ethereality and harness its political mettle. Only by seeing ethics as the product of an emboldened philosophical interpretation can its apolitical, introverted, or anemic condition be overcome (see Chapter 6).