|The Legacy of Franz Rosenzweig
Table of Contents
Luc Anckaert, Martin Brasser and Norbert Samuelson
Part I: The Biographical Legacy: The Gritli-Letters
The Relevance of the Gritli-Letters to the Clarification of Key Concepts and Central Ideas in Rosenzweig’s Star of Redemption
“Hier Hermann Cohen und dort Gritli.” Bemerkungen über Rosenzweigs Verhältnis zu Cohen im Licht der Gritli-Briefe
Der Riss am Himmel der Zeit. Ein kurzer Kommentar zum Gritlianum von Franz Rosenzweig
Franz Rosenzweigs Briefe an Margrit (Gritli) Rosenstock. Ein Zwischenbericht mit drei Dokumenten
Schwerpunkte zukünftiger Beschäftigung mit Franz Rosenzweig
Reinhold Mayer and Inken Rühle
Part II: The Philosophical Legacy: New Thinking, Levinas and Strauss
Der Ausbruch aus dem Idealismus und die Sinneserfahrung unseres geschichtlichen Daseins
The Internal Proportionality for Believing. A Suggestion for Research on Rosenzweig and Viktor von Weizsäcker
Franz Rosenzweig’s Philosophical Legacy: Levinas or Strauss?
‘Transzendenz’ und ‘Tatsächlichkeit’. Antwort auf Batnitzky
Geschichte und Offenbarung. Randbemerkungen zu Batnitzky
Francesco Paolo Ciglia
On Emmanuel Levinas’s Relation to Franz Rosenzweig’s Philosophy
Die Pflicht des Erinnerns bei Franz Rosenzweig
Metaphysical and Hermeneutic Aspects of Recollection of the Past in Jewish Ritual, According to Franz Rosenzweig
Recalling the Past in Rosenzweig’s The Star of Redemption
Part III: The Theological Legacy: Religions, Judaism and Christianity
The Jewish-Christian Dialogue. Perspectives Drawn from Rosenzweig
Franz Rosenzweig’s Theory of Translation through Kabbalistic Motifs
Barbara E. Galli
Religion and Religions in The Star of Redemption
Revelation: Common Ground of Religions?
Theo-logie als Geschehen des Gebetes. Eine Anleitung Franz Rosenzweigs Stern der Erlösung zu lesen
Luc Anckaert and Berhard Casper, An Exhaustive Rosenzweig Bibliography. Primary and Secondary Writings (Leuven: Peeters, 19952).
Franz Rosenzweig, Der Mensch und sein Werk. Gesammelte Schriften. I. Bd: Briefe und Tagebücher, edited by Rachel Rosenzweig and Edith Rosenzweig-Scheinmann in collaboration with Bernhard Casper (Den Haag: Martinus Nijhoff, 1979).
Franz Rosenzweig, Der Mensch und sein Werk. Gesammelte Schriften. II. Bd: Der Stern der Erlösung, edited by Reinhold Mayer (Den Haag: Martinus Nijhoff, 1976).
Franz Rosenzweig, Der Mensch und sein Werk. Gesammelte Schriften. III. Bd: Zweistromland. Kleinere Schriften zu Glauben und Denken, edited by Reinhold Mayer and Annemarie Mayer (Dordrecht-Boston-Lancaster: Martinus Nijhoff, 1984).
GS IV 1:
Franz Rosenzweig, Der Mensch und sein Werk. Gesammelte Schriften. IV. Bd: Sprachdenken im Übersetzen. 1. Bd.: Fünfundzwanzig Hymnen und Gedichte. Deutsch und Hebraisch, edited by Rafael N. Rosenzweig (The Hague-Boston-Lancaster: Martinus Nijhoff, 1983).
GS IV 2:
Franz Rosenzweig, Der Mensch und sein Werk. Gesammelte Schriften. IV. Bd: Sprachdenken im Übersetzen. 2. Bd.: Arbeitspapiere zur Verdeutschung der Schrift, edited by Rachel Bat-Adam (Dordrecht-Boston-Lancaster: Martinus Nijhoff, 1984).
Franz Rosenzweig, Die “Gritli”-Briefe. Briefe an Margrit Rosenstock-Huessy, edited by Inken Rühle and Reinhold Mayer. With an introduction of Rafael Rosenzweig (Tübingen: Bilam, 2002).
Franz Rosenzweig, Briefe, selected by Ernst Simon and edited by Edith Rosenzweig (Berlin: Schocken, 1933).
Franz Rosenzweig, Hegel und der Staat. Bd. I: Lebensstationen (1770-1806); Bd. II: Weltepochen (1806-1831) (München-Berlin: Oldenburg, 1920). Reprinted in one volume: Aalen: Scientia, 1960.
Franz Rosenzweig, Kleinere Schriften (Berlin: Schocken, 1937).
Franz Rosenzweig, The Star of Redemption, translated by William W. Hallo (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1970).
In 2001, Clemens Thoma and Martin Brasser took the initiative to gather the Rosenzweig-research community in Luzern (Switzerland). By doing so they took up again the line of a tradition of regular meetings that had been discontinued for more than a decade – the first meeting being held in Jerusalem in 1980,1 the last meetings in Kassel and in Paris in 1986 and 1987 respectively.2 Over nearly a decade researchers from all over the world had convened to share and discuss the findings of their recent studies. The meetings often happened to grow into larger conferences with a public character. The main purpose of the Luzerner Tagung was to study the intertextual ‘con-texts’ of Rosenzweig’s opus magnum, Der Stern der Erlösung. Sure enough, Rosenzweig’s book can be read as a commentary on already existing texts.3
At the last meeting of this very Tagung Norbert Samuelson proposed to meet again at Tempe, Arizona, the following year. This would offer the opportunity for numerous new insights that emerged from the intensive discussions in Luzern to be further elaborated in America. The Franz Rosenzweig Meeting Workshop took place from 12 till 15 April 2002. The support of the Harold and Jean Grossman Chair of Jewish Studies, the International Academy for Jewish Philosophy, the Department of Religious Studies (Arizona State University) and the Department of Philosophy (Arizona State University), enabled Norbert Samuelson to provide a sumptuous surrounding as a meeting site.
The basic question of the Arizona-meeting was as follows: which are the forthcoming central themes and subjects in the research on the work and life of Franz Rosenzweig? In fact, this research seems to have reached a turning point. Just at the time when Raphael Rosenzweig one of the last contemporaneous witnesses – died, the Gritli-Letters4 were published and a lot of biographic details – some of them rather theoretic, others most intimate – were made available to a wider public for interpretation. The conceptual and cultural achievement, the origins and the large influence of Franz Rosenzweig are not yet adequately known and appreciated although a lot of modern thinkers of a more or less wide range refer to him explicitly or not, officially or secretly, often or seldom. The circle of those scientifically interested in the work and life of Franz Rosenzweig is all but homogeneous: there are those who take Rosenzweig for an exemplary Jewish religious, others regard him as a modern free intellectual, others as the man who started paving the way for a serious Jewish-Christian dialogue and others see him as a profound existential thinker. In view of such and other interpretation diversities the question of the Arizona meeting seemed to suggest itself. So the meeting was meant to revive the hope of outlining the profile of the next steps in the research on Rosenzweig.
The present volume offers the texts that were written mainly after the workshop. The texts are presented in a new order, departing from the dynamics of the workshops so as to better highlight the inner relatedness of the texts. During the workshops, the organizers opted for the method of presentations being delivered in the way of lectures. Each discussion was introduced by a co-report. For this volume, the editors requested the different authors to rework their contributions as independent texts. This implies that the greater part of the co-report papers turned into autonomous texts. Some of them go into a subject developed in one of the lectures in a way of their own. Others just complete the texts of the lectures. For the presentation of the texts, the editors treated each text as an independent one. Texts that comment on another were printed subsequent to the latter. The volume was completed by two texts that were not discussed in Arizona as such: a text by Francesco Paolo Ciglia on the Gritlianum and a contribution by Bernhard Casper.
The volume falls into three sections, each of which shows a distinctive interest in the Rosenzweig research and proposes a particular assignment to it. The biographical research mainly centers on understanding Rosenzweig’s thought from the textual sources at hand. The philosophical research increasingly evolves towards the question of the possibility to go on thinking with Rosenzweig in the future. The theological research pays much attention to the topic of revelatory understanding and to the question of inter-religious dialogue. Obviously, this division is partly arbitrary since the different research lines refer to one another.
Undoubtedly, the main event of the last years for the Rosenzweig research was the publication of the monumental volume Gritli-Letters. Inken Rühle and Reinhold Mayer supplied the text edition of over 1 000 love letters written by Rosenzweig to his intellectual friend Margrit Rosenstock-Huessy. The letters can be read as a running commentary on the Star. The publication will be extremely influential for the further study of Rosenzweig’s thought. The intensive reading of the letters is indispensable both for the study of Rosenzweig’s biography and for the interpretation of the Star. The first section of these collected essays, The Biographical Legacy, presents the outcome of the beginning study of this important document. It represents a strong incentive for further investigations. Ephraim Meir offers an extended thematic study of some concepts and notions from the Star as they get elucidated from the Gritli-Letters. In fact, his article built around some twenty ideas and key concepts, is shaping a framework for the research to come. Pierfrancesco Fiorato focuses on Rosenzweig’s relation with Cohen. It is common knowledge that Rosenzweig designated the neo-Kantian philosopher, enjoying a renewed attention today, as his master. His later work, written after he gave up his chair in Marburg, Die Religion der Vernunft, was of decisive importance. The Letters allow a better understanding of this relation. Francesco Paolo Ciglia was willing to translate an Italian text in which he deals with Rosenzweig’s text Von Einheit und Ewigkeit. Ein Gespräch zwischen Leib und Seele, which had already been published before.5 The text, also known as the Gritlianum, is a touching dialogue on anthropological questions that are decisive for the Star. Ciglia’s comments also emphasize the proper value of this unique dialogue since it is the only philosophical dialogue written by the dialogical thinker Rosenzweig. Michael Gormann-Thelen deals with the context in which the Letters originated and with the historical circumstances of their tradition. This allows for some critical remarks to be formulated on the editorial work of Rühle and Mayer. His reflections mainly refer to the text edition. Finally, Rühle and Mayer themselves start speaking, after the publication of the Letters, advocating in a worthy way an intensive preparation of a biography of Rosenzweig and demanding attention for the Jewish character of his thought. This is necessary to familiarize the public at large with Rosenzweig, but it is also the direction that scientific research should take.
The second section, bearing the title The Philosophical Legacy, is structured around three foci. First of all, Wolfdietrich Schmied-Kowarzik analyses the way Rosenzweig broke up idealistic thought and his relation with existentialism. The small circle of ‘con-genial’ thinkers around Rosenzweig where Hans Ehrenberg played a prominent role tried to develop a ‘New Thinking’ by letting implode idealism from within, without falling into some existentialist solipsism for that matter. The study of this possibility also demands attention to be paid to the relation with that other revolutionary philosopher of language, Martin Heidegger. Schmied-Kowarzik, who has already published authoritative texts on this issue as well, also refers to its significance to philosophy of religion. Hartwig Wiedebach takes this issue as a starting point for an in-depth inquiry into the relation between philosophy and the practices of belief. He thus broadens the scope of the discussion, including the thought of Rudolf Ehrenberg and Viktor von Weizsäcker as well.
The second focus puts Emmanuel Levinas’ relation with Rosenzweig at the center. Leora Batnitzky does so by confronting the ethical thinking of Levinas with the political thought of Leo Strauss. This comparison is all but obvious. The rather left-minded, French post-modern ethicist, who tries to evoke the significance of the Jewish Revelation in a veracious way, seems to be the radical opposite of the atheist American neo-conservative political thinker. Nevertheless, both influential thinkers draw inspiration from the same Jewish scriptural sources. To both of them, Rosenzweig holds a prominent place among these sources. Batnitzky examines the different interpretations of Levinas and Strauss and, by doing so, she convincingly demonstrates how a new context and horizon of understanding the different intellectual debates and traditions in America and France lead to a new field of signification. Batnitzky may show here a new way for investigations, i.e. the need to complete critical-hermeneutic study of the context of origin and the structure of Rosenzweig’s thought by the question of Rosenzweig’s possible significance within the new 21st century context. Apart from the historical Rosenzweig philology a critical thinking is on the rise. It explores the way in which Rosenzweig’s potential for thinking opens up new possibilities. Heinz-Jürgen Görtz explicitly takes to heart this last remark by putting the question of how it would be possible to philosophize with Rosenzweig beyond Rosenzweig. From ‘re-contextualizing’ on he works out how the choice of a particular reading approach of the Star leads to specific interpretations well-known is the discussion about the reading order of the books of the Star being crucial for its interpretation. Görtz’s comments confirm Batnitzky’s reading effort. Ciglia presents a brief reflection on Batnitzky’s text by looking at her reading from the relation between history and revelation and by asking the question of the exact meaning of history. As such he links up with his first contribution on the dialogue about the meaning of time and eternity. Whereas Batnitzky mainly offers a starting point to show how new modes of thinking can originate in Rosenzweig, Ze’ev Levy inquires into the textual relation between Rosenzweig and Levinas by offering an extended comment on the basis of the texts that Levinas himself wrote on Rosenzweig.
At the center of the third focus is the concept of Er-innerung (memory). Myriam Bienenstock ties in with the issue Paul Ricoeur recently raised in his book La mémoire, l’histoire, l’oubli.6 The duty to remember is not the same as the historian’s task, though they are no opposites either. The duty to remember is also the duty not to forget. Bienenstock delivers an important contribution to this discussion by examining the duty to remember, which is rooted in the thought of the Bible, from the Star. By her study, which confronts many readings of time and memory, Bienenstock breaks open an intellectual room for any thinking of time, history, philosophy of religion, mythology and politics, interiority and exteriority. Joseph Turner re-thinks the concept of memory as Recollection of the Past and he outlines how this is an aspect of redemptive activity within Rosenzweig’s conceptual framework. The recollection of the past is acting, within religious rituals, in a way that supposedly affects consciousness and assists in its reorientation toward the worldly existence and presence. Julius Simon critically analyzes Bienenstock’s text and raises some questions with respect to her understanding of the Hegelian concept of Er-innerung and to Rosenzweig’s response to the question of what is meant by a Hegelian eternalization of the present. The point at stake in this discussion centers on the concept of the philosophy of history and the myths, and therefore on the relation of Rosenzweig’s thought to idealism.
The last section deals with The Theological Legacy and mainly focuses on the relation between Judaism and Christianity and on the meaning of the term of ‘religion’. Clemens Thoma points out Rosenzweig’s impulses for the Jewish-Christian dialogue. He pays special attention to the similarities between Rosenzweig and the Gospel of John. The language of love seems to be the common ground of both religions. Faith’s experience of love can therefore constitute the common platform, which precedes the doctrinal points of difference and historical misunderstandings. According to Thoma, this is how Rosenzweig paved the way for the inter-religious dialogue. Barbara Galli, eminent translator of Rosenzweig’s works, interprets this relation from the issue of translatability as it is intimated by some texts of the Kabbala. From this thought, two elements come to the fore time and again: the materiality of being which is textual and the fact that the secret of textuality is the imperative to translate the Name, a command constituting impossible fulfillment for the autonomous human mind. If one takes into account the materiality of the labor of translation, the seamless connection of the common ground between Judaism and Christianity appears to be at least problematic. The clarity envisaged in any relation cannot possibly materialize. This has everything to do with the notion of Tsimtsum. Yehoda Amir raises the question of the role of religion in the Star. Amir demands attention to be given to the idolatry being present in the Proto-Cosmos of Star I, faith present in the second part of the Star and the relation between Judaism and Christianity being present in the third part. By doing so, he opposes Rosenzweig’s thinking to western idealism but also to the thought of the later Cohen. Amir elaborates the proposition that faith is rooted in revelation. Then, of course, the question is whether this revelation is also the common ground of both Judaism and Christianity. Connected to this there is the question whether Rosenzweig awards Judaism and Christianity full equality and validity. The answer to these questions is closely linked up with the reading that Amir proposes. Anckaert is suspicious about the unproblematic symmetrical complementarity between Judaism and Christianity. In his opinion, the materiality of the historical context of both religions means a different understanding of revelation. A Christian theology cannot do without a christological understanding of revelation. This fundamentally connects revelation and incarnation. By the materiality of the incarnation, however, a shift is being produced in the concept of revelation. Instead of the complementary relation, suggested by Rosenzweig, Anckaert advocates tolerance, as Nicolas of Cusa words it. Bernhard Casper points out that Rosenzweig’s significance lies in his attention to the original roots of human being and to his relation towards the divine appeal. This represents a connection between Rosenzweig and the thinking of origin of Husserl and Heidegger, but also, in a sense, with the linguistic analysis and postmodern thought. Casper’s contention is that within Rosenzweig’s works this originality does not appear in a mainly thematic way, but has everything to do with the proper nature of Rosenzweig’s speech act itself. As a topos to work this out, Casper takes the speech act of prayer. Within prayer man appears as Dasein, In-der-Welt sein and as in-der-Geschichte-sein. Put this way, prayer is a transcendentale of the human life. But exactly here, ‘Theo-logy’ comes to the fore as well.
The three sections of these collected essays show three accents that are characteristic in the current Rosenzweig research in an abundantly clear way. These accents may well be co-constitutive for the future. There is the lasting importance of the historical-critical investigation. The constant opening up of the source material remains a continual task to achieve. This element forms the condition of the biographical research. Many people are looking forward to an extensive Rosenzweig biography holding a more or less definitive character. There is of course the irreplaceable book of Glatzer, which mainly summarizes text material, and also the concise biography of Ephraim Meir.7 The study of the source material is also a condition for the hermeneutic-interpretative study of Rosenzweig. This is not possible without the study of Rosenzweig’s relation with idealism and existentialism. However, within the philosophical research, the latter interest is combined with the task to repeat ‘the speculative gesture’8 of Rosenzweig in the new era of the third millennium: in the final analysis, memory, designated by Bienenstock as the central task, implies a reorientation of thinking after the epoch-making historical events that marked the culture of Europe and the world after Rosenzweig. The cataclysm of the Second World War and the emergence of the global world provide a new context. Faithful listening to Rosenzweig’s legacy may mean here once again the challenge of ‘a new thinking’. On the inter-religious level, in the end, the question of thinking the revelation in dialogue with the different religions (including Islam) comes to the fore. The way of putting this question determines the dialogue. But the new historical context, including on the one hand a decreasing impact of institutional religions and, on the other hand, the emergence of certain forms of fundamentalism, invite for a reflection about the future meaning of religion.
The publication of the Collected Essays presents a two-fold interest. First of all, it is a representative survey of the ongoing contemporary Rosenzweig research. It gathers the state of affairs of the main spearheads of the research and it highlights the incentives for the programs to come. Secondly, the reflection within this enquiry shows the contours of thinking in evolution. Could a thorough reflection on the challenge of Rosenzweig’s legacy not mark the onset for a new reflection in a new era? Levinas guessed that it is Rosenzweig’s original questioning that may open up a new future: “Le grand intérêt de la pensée de Rosenzweig réside dans les questions auxquelles elle aboutit, plutôt que dans les influences qu’elle a pu subir.”9
Last but not least, our sincere gratitude goes towards Prof. Dr. Carlos Steel (Hoger Instituut voor Wijsbegeerte of the KULeuven) who kindly accepted to incorporate this volume into the highly esteemed Louvain Philosophical Studies series. We also acknowledge the University Press of Louvain for its smooth collaboration during the realization of this volume, through the contribution of Mrs Hilde Lens in particular.