The Legacy of Franz Rosenzweig
Edited by Luc Anckaert, Martin Brasser, Norbert Samuelson
The volume falls into three sections, each of which shows a distinctive interest in the Rosenzweig research. The Biographical Legacy presents the outcome of the beginning study of the Gritli-Letters. Undoubtedly, the main event of the last years for the Rosenzweig research was the publication of this monumental volume. Inken Rühle and Reinhold Mayer supplied the text edition of over 1000 letters written by Rosenzweig to his intellectual friend Margrit Rosenstock-Huessy. The intensive reading of the letters is indispensable both for the study of Rosenzweig's biography and for the interpretation of the Star.
The Philosophical Legacy is structured around three foci. First of all, there is an analysis of the way Rosenzweig broke up idealistic thought and of 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 second focus puts Levinas's relation with Rosenzweig at the center. One can read a confrontation with the ethical thinking of Emmanuel Levinas and the political thought of Leo Strauss and an enquiry into the textual relation between Rosenzweig and Levinas. At the center of the third focus is the concept of "Er-innerung" (memory). The duty to remember is also the duty not to forget. This concept breaks open an intellectual room for any thinking of time, history, philosophy of religion, mythology and politics, interiority and exteriority.
The Theological Legacy mainly focuses on the relation between Judaism and Christianity and on the meaning of the term of 'religion'. 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. In the discussion, 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 publication of the Collected Essays presents a two-fold interest. First of all, it is a representative survey of the 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?