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date: 13 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses Levinas’s thoughts about Zionism in his Talmudic Readings and in articles published together with the Readings. It is indeed in this body of work that Levinas attempts to demonstrate the concrete relevance of his utopian ethics through cases that are supposed to represent everyday life. In other words, the Talmudic Readings are meant to display the tangible relationship between utopian principles and mundane reality. The essay explains Levinas’s defense of the modern State of Israel in this context, and it shows that Zionism is addressed in the Readings as an occurrence of the intrigue of ethics and politics. However, it also shows that, in line with his philosophy, Levinas voiced strong criticism of that State—criticism often overlooked or underanalyzed in the scholarship. Finally, the essay examines the main weakness of Levinas’s Zionism, namely, the patent Hegelianism which clashes with a philosophy that claims to refute Hegel.

Keywords: Levinas, Talmudic Readings, Zionism, politics, justice, Hegel

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