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Emil Fackenheim and the levitical order of thinking

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Chapter Summary

"In Auschwitz died, not only man, but also the idea of man". Albeit articulated by Elie Wiesel, this pronouncement is Emil Fackenheim's Wort. The heart of European philosophy was the idea of man. The "death of God" remains an issue for the diagnosis of European nihilism only until God, as idea, finds embodiment in the Jew. What about the Jew - the one who "also" died in Auschwitz? How does Fackenheim's 614th commandment, which commands Jews to survive as Jews lest Hitler win a posthumous victory, relate to what the Voice of Auschwitz expects humanity in general to look for in philosophy? The most that a philosopher, faced with the death of the idea of man, can attribute to the Voice of Auschwitz is a call to the task of drawing down some kind of substitute for the dead idea from another order of thinking.

Keywords: Auschwitz; Emil Fackenheim; European nihilism; European philosophy; Jews; philosopher



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