My parents celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary this past week. I couldn't be there so wrote a note on time's passing to be read in my absence, largely drawing on Heidegger's Phenomenology of Religious Life and Ricoeur's Time and Narrative.
- Ian Tregenza, "The Political Theology of the Morpeth Review, 1927-1934," forthcoming and available on early view in The Journal of Religious History, which is publishing a special issue on secularization in Australia. Of particular note is this article, which looks at the history of radical thought arising in the Newcastle area. Dr. Tregenza also contributed to the forthcoming edited collection on Religion in Australian Political Life which was part of our University of Newcastle funded research on the subject.
Judith Wolfe - "Caught in the Trap of His Own Metaphysics," Standpoint Magazine - http://www.standpointmag.co.uk/node/5583/full
This is an nteresting and excellent public note on the recent publication of Heidegger's black notebooks. Wolfe was recently appointed at St. Andrews University Divinity School, and a brief interview on her recent Heidegger and Theology with Bloomsbury can also be found here: http://bit.ly/1jZuOOO. This latter book looks to be an exceptional edition based on two years of archival research at Humboldt and Freiburg Universities.
Matti Friedman "The Continuing Mysteries of the Aleppo Codex," Tablet - http://www.tabletmag.com/?p=176903
An interesting read for anyone interested in the history of codex books.
Michael Rosen, "Kant Confusion," Times Literary Supplement - http://bit.ly/1zqXQeA
Rosen's suggestion, it seems to me, echoes Levinas' appropriation of Kant in that he also collapses the transcendent into the ethical imperative to treat others as ends in themselves.
Towards the end of one of the seminars I taught on Jewish thought this past semester a student told a story, which seemed quite apropos to Arendt's conclusion to The Origins of Totalitarianism. They recounted the experience of struggling with heavy bags to find a seat on a train. As they passed by, each person turned away or pretended not to notice. The student wrestled through and eventually found a place to rest. Then a man from Peru made eye contact - a moment of recognition that led to a conversation. Just four weeks prior the man had been beaten to an inch of his life by thugs, destroying his guitar in the process. Yet, of all those in the crowd, he reached out to connect.
This example perfectly sums up Arendt's notion of loneliness. Unlike solitude loneliness occurs in the experience of displacment and dislocation from others. The paradox being that loneliness requires another person and is accentuated in what Arendt calls "the masses." Part of Arendt's enduring relevance is due to this common experience in cities and factories today. Furthermore, as was the case in Melissa Raphael's work on The Female Face of God in Auschwitz, the moment of recognition is crucial to Levinas' notion of "the face." Even clearing the mud from another person's face can be redemptive if its aim is to recognize them as a human being anew and as an end in themselves. This is especially true when we find ourselves in situations where people are treated as mere things or dispensable beasts.
Arendt's conclusion to The Origins of Totalitarianism, focused on the link between loneliness, terror and ideology. As we discussed, she asked her readers to think in their experience, not just follow the cold logic of ideas. She encouraged communication between a plurality of human beings, not just those bound together by common appearance or history.
In many respects, I hope our class discussions this semester embodied those aims.
As it happens, the Blake Prize is on tour at Newcastle University's Art Gallery at the moment. Well worth visiting, and there is one piece in particular that echoes the seminar conversations that occurred this semester. In particular, Franz Kempf's "The Outrageous Has Become Commonplace," which was this year's winner for human justice and can be seen on the Blake's website along with all the others.
"AP's Style Guide for Religion, Metaphysics, and God's Existence" The Atlantic - http://bit.ly/1hnH36o
It is interesting in particular that the editors at the Atlantic had to negotiate the theological issues at stake in the councils of Nicea and Chalcedon regarding how to communicate the humanity and divinity of Jesus. The issue is humorously echoed in Steve Martin's "Atheists Don't Have No Songs."