Monday, December 6, 2010 - Emil Fackenheim Career and...

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Emil Fackenheim Career and Works - one of the most important Jewish theologians of the 20th/21st century - born in Halle, studied classics in high school, when he was about to advance his studies, his classics teacher wanted him to go on in classics, but he thought that Judaism needed him and that he belonged to Judaism, he went to Berlin to study, he wanted to get into the philosophy program but couldn’t, so he studied in Halla and Berlin so he could study philosophy and for his rabbinic degree - he got accepted to Hebrew university, but he thought the place was to go to the West, and not Israel - went to London, and went directly to Aberdeen to study philosophy (Hegel) - got his parents out, they were taken by the nazis - was a camp rabbi, when he came on a boat to Canada and got sent to a camp in Sherbrooke - after 4 months, when he got out, he came to UofT - was a Rabbi in Hamilton, and then was asked to teach metaphysics - during this time (late 1940s, early 1950s), he repressed all memories of the holocaust - publishes articles on philosophy, and also, Judaism (postwar Jewish theology) - form 1949- late 1960s, he rights brilliant articles on Jewish theology - published them in a volume: Quest for Past and Future - he wanted to describe the holocaust in all its particularity, not to diminish the seriousness of its events (the more we tend to englamerate, we tend to mitigate what is distinctive of the evil) - many people post-holocaust determine Judaism in terms of the holocaust - for Fackenheim, he had written a good deal before 1967 - he began to think very hard about how to confront this event, with all seriousness - by 1967, it began to crystalize in his mind - conference in NY in summer of 1967 - uttered the 614th commandment for Jews to follow: Jews are forbidden to give Hitler any pustules victories - he then broke this down in fragments 1) forbidden to give up on the memories of those who were victim of the Holocaust 2) forbidden to give up on God 3) forbidden to give up on the Jewish people 4) forbidden to give up on the world as a place where people engage with each other in decency and humanity - this is in March 1967, and the months before June are very had as Israel was in danger (6 day war) - it is said that the 6 day war brought fear, as people thought it was another holocaust - a sense of elation and redemption when Israel was victorious and there was a sense of security - 614th commandment became a slogan - academic formulation of the claim “never again” - however, this is a highly rhetorical claim - he begins to give lectures about Judaism, he uses his framework that he develops from 1967-1970 - he talks about Jewish ethnicity, the role of Judaism in pluralist culture, Israel, human dignity, anti-semitism, how Jews should think about democracy - this framework was sitting way in the background - “Authentic and Inauthentic responses to the Holocaust” - he begins to frame a project, which is one that establishes the philosophical foundations of life in a response to the Holocaust To Mend the World (1982)
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This note was uploaded on 11/18/2011 for the course RLG 220H1 taught by Professor Professornovak during the Fall '10 term at University of Toronto- Toronto.

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Monday, December 6, 2010 - Emil Fackenheim Career and...

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