Reason and Revelation before Historicism

Reason and Revelation before Historicism: Strauss and Fackenheim

SHARON PORTNOFF
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 368
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442695382
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  • Book Info
    Reason and Revelation before Historicism
    Book Description:

    Reason and Revelation before Historicism, the first full-length comparison of Strauss and Fackenheim,places the informal teacher and student in conversation alongside sections of their analyses of notable thinkers.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-9538-2
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-2)
  4. 1 Background and Introduction
    (pp. 3-37)

    It is well known that the work of Emil L. Fackenheim was influenced by Rosenzweig and Buber. Less well known is the tremendous impact that Leo Strauss had on his work. As a young scholar in Toronto, Fackenheim visited New York to converse with Strauss. He sought him out, not so much to learn what various thinkers had thought, but rather to learn whether what these thinkers had written ‘was right.’¹ This was not simply the loneliness of one German Jewish exile seeking out another: both men were keenly aware of what they had identified as the failures of modern...

  5. 2 Strauss’s Formulation of the Relationship between Reason and Revelation in Modern Thought and His Rejection of a Practical Synthesis
    (pp. 38-80)

    The methodology of reading is of paramount importance to Strauss: for readers to extricate themselves from the delusion created by the acceptance of the modern idea of history, they must learn to read with the greatest of attention to the surface of the text. But as Janssens points out, Strauss, and the writers on whose texts he wrote, were aware that ‘not all readers are equally thoughtful, perspicacious, patient, and learned.’² Consequently, he could not, he indicated, provide adequate interpretations of the texts he studied, which would require of the reader protracted and first-hand study, taking, perhaps, a lifetime, but...

  6. 3 Fackenheim’s Formulation of the Relationship between Philosophy and Revelatory Theology in Modern Thought
    (pp. 81-152)

    This chapter explores Fackenheim’s formulation of the crisis of modernity – the loss of faith in both reason and revelation – as well as his attempt to construct a new thinking that is at once both philosophical and Jewish. As we saw in the last chapter, Strauss had articulated the development of the crisis as the loss of the art of esoteric writing, which had led to confusion between the critique of the external and internal truths of religion, which in turn had led to the attempt to reintroduce revelation into reason, or to synthesize it with reason. Fackenheim, working as a...

  7. 4 The Problem of Historicism
    (pp. 153-204)

    We have seen in chapters 2 and 3 Strauss and Fackenheim’s diagnosis of the crisis of modernity: the lack of an authoritative standard by which to judge morality. Both thinkers trace the crisis to the post-Enlightenment attempt to synthesize reason and revelation, a synthesis that applied the idea of progress and a new definition of ‘nature,’ introduced by Machiavelli and the promoters of the new science, to the revelatory sphere; or, more broadly, that introduced the anthropocentric stance of modern rational thought to the revelatory sphere.¹ The result was historicism: the idea that changes in human thinking literally change the...

  8. 5 Reason and Revelation: Jewish Thought after Strauss and Fackenheim
    (pp. 205-240)

    We saw in the last chapter that Fackenheim works as both a philosopher and a Jewish theologian and the problems that arise when he attempts to join together Jewish theology and philosophy. This chapter will explore more deeply the problematic involved: Strauss argues that philosophy and revelation are mutually irrefutable and that their separation is one means of retaining the vitality of the West. This chapter will begin with a discussion of the problem and the means by which Strauss and Fackenheim following him resolve it. Both thinkers, first of all, re-examine the roots of Western civilization, reason and revelation.¹...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 241-354)
  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 355-368)
  11. Index
    (pp. 369-395)