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Other OthersThe Political after the Talmud$
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Sergey Dolgopolski

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780823280186

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823280186.001.0001

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Formally Human (Jewish Responses to Kant I)

Formally Human (Jewish Responses to Kant I)

(p.141) Chapter 6 Formally Human (Jewish Responses to Kant I)
Other Others

Sergey Dolgopolski

Fordham University Press

The chapter shows how among tradition-oriented scholars of the 20th and early 21st century, the interpersonal in the Talmud became effaced in the notion of a universal subject of reason, ultimately conceived of as pure thought and denying any intrinsic necessity of the intersubjective, let alone the interpersonal. At the center of the discussion is post-Kantian formal transcendental definition of what it means to be human as opposed to any phenomenal description of humanity in external phenomenal terms of a physical, biological, or other objectifying terms. The chapter follows the Jewish thinkers who, in response to Kant’s critique of Jewish law as positive law, argue that Rabbinic law – the Talmud and its interpretation – entail a transcendental rather than positive notion of the law, and a transcendental rather than empirical notion of universal humanity in each human being. The chapter further shows, how for the sake of that argument, modern Jewish thinkers reinvent Jewish law. The chapter displays how that process entails both construction and denial of the Talmud as an allegedly empty form of merely rhetorical arguments to be translated into, and according to the principles of a universal humanity, build, as it is for these Jewish thinkers after Kant, on the principles of intersubjective transcendentalism, and on the resulting understanding of the political in their work.

Keywords:   Brisker Rav, The, Egalitarian bio-politics, Formally human, Maimonides, Soloveitchik, Rav Joseph

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