Article Title

Jewish-Christian relations and the ethical philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas: 'at the very moment where all is lost, everything is possible'*


The ethical philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas offers a confronting and prophetic message to the experience of Jewish-Christian relations. Being profoundly observant of the tragedies and piercing experiences of life, his message proclaims a life of kenosis, expiation, and substitution. Further, It is a life of extreme desire for the neighbor, above one's personal needs and pleasures. Constantly, we are left guilty before the poor one who is hungry and In fear of death. Our debt Is released only by becoming more responsible. Such are the hyperbolic demands of an ethical philosophy that holds sacred the teaching of being made in the likeness and image of an infinite God. Levinas's ethical philosophy gives a foundation to articulate a vision of Jewish-Christian relations in light of (1) the eschatological vocation of the scholar; (2) the Jewish experience of Christianity; (3) the mysteries of creation, revelation, and redemption; and, finally, (4) a phenomenology of evil. His thought offers to both Christians and Jews a hope that everything is possible.

*Emmanuel Levinas, Existence and Existents, tr. Alphonso Lingis, The Hague, Martinus Nijhof, 1978; London, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1995, p. 92.



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