Invited to answer questions about his relationship to Judaism, Jacques Derrida spoke through Franz Kafka: As for myself, I could imagine another Abraham.From the experience of a summons that surprises us and prompts the query Who, me?Derrida explores the movement between growing up Jewish, becoming Jewish,and Jewish beingor existence. His essay The Other Abrahamappears here in English for the first time. We no longer confront Judaismbut judeity,multiple Judaisms and Jewishnesses, manifold ways of being and writing as a Jew-in Derrida's case, as a French-speaking Algerian deprived of, then restored to French nationality in the 1940s. What is it to be a Jew and a philosopher? How has the notion of Jewish identitybeen written into and across Jewish literature, Jewish thought, and Jewish languages? Here distinguished scholars address these questions, contrasting Derrida's thought with philosophical predecessors such as Rosenzweig, Levinas, Celan, and Scholem, and tracing confluences between deconstruction and Kabbalah. Derrida's relationship to the universalist aspirations in contemporary theology is also discussed, and his late autobiographical writings are evaluated. This multifaceted volume aims to open the question of Jewishness, above all, to hold it open as a question, though not one of practical or theoretical identity. As much a contestation of identity as a profound reflection on what it means today to seek, elude, and finally to wrestle with the significance of being-jew,Judeities invites us to revisit the human condition in the twenty-first century.
BETTINA BERGO is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Montral and the author of Levinas: Between Ethics and Politics. The most recent of her many translations is,with Michael B. Smith, Judeities: Questions for Jacques Derrida (Fordham).
Joseph Cohen is Visiting Professor of Philosophy at the Hochschule fur Gestaltung in Karlsruhe, Germany, and Program Director at the College International Philosophie, Paris. He has published Le sacrifice de Hegel (2006) and Le spectre juif de Hegel (2005). Author of many articles, he recently edited Heidegger-le danger et la promesse (2006), a critical collection on Heidegger and the end of history.
Raphael Zagury-Orly is Professor of Philosophy at the Bezalel Academy of Fine Arts in Jerusalem and Researcher in Philosophy atthe University of Tel Aviv. He has translated Gilles Deleuze and Jacques Derrida into Hebrew and is the author of many articles.
MICHAEL B. SMITH is Professor Emeritus of French and Philosophy at Berry College and the translator of many works, including, with Bettina Bergo, Judeities: Questions for Jacques Derrida(Fordham).
Translators' Preface ix
Preface to the French Edition xi
Abraham, the Other Jacques Derrida 1
The Last, the Remnant...: (Derrida and Rosenzweig) Gerard Bensussan 36
This Stranjew Body Helene Cixous 52
The Story of a Friendship: The Archive and the Question of Palestine Michal Ben Naftali 78
Jacques Derrida and Kabbalistic Sources Moshe Idel 111
Historicity and Differance Gianni Vattimo 131
How to Answer the Ethical Question Jurgen Habermas 142
A Monster of Faithfulness Joseph Cohen Raphael Zagury-Orly 155
The Shibboleth Effect: On Reading Paul Celan Hent de Vries 175
The Judeo-Christian Jean-Luc Nancy 214