Jewish Messianism and the History of Philosophy

Jewish Messianism and the History of Philosophy

Martin Kavka challenges the ancient opposition between Athens and Jerusalem by retrieving the concept of meontology (the doctrine of nonbeing) in one strand of the Jewish philosophical and theological tradition. Kavka's study also offers new interpretations of important contributors to contemporary Continental philosophy. They critique arguments about the role of lived religion in the thought of Jacques Derrida, the role of Greek philosophy in the thought of Emmanuel Levinas, and the ethical importance of the thought of Franz Rosenzweig.


"Exceeding all other work on modern Jewish thought, this book engages the history of philosophy and the history of Jewish philosophy. The question of the me on, the not-being, is a central question for both traditions, leading from pre-Socratics,through Plato and Aristotle, and then obsessing certain thinkers until today...[the author's] relentless philosophical voice allows him to delve into extremely complex and challenging questions with astonishing clarity. Because he is asking for a specific purpose, he can plumb the depths of the relation of being and non-being, without drowning the reader in jargon or metaphysical haze. No reader will fail to learn a great deal from his enquiry and his argument." Robert Gibbs, author of Correlations in Rosenzweig and Levinas and Why Ethics? Signs of Responsibilities

"In our apocalyptic, ironic age, a book about nothing hardly makes us lugh. But Martin Kavka's prodigious wit lightly carries his dense study of meontology, the logic of nonbeing. Broad enough to encompass Husserl and Maimonides, Plotinus and Hermann Cohen, Jewish Messianism and the History of Philosophy will appeal to diverse audiences with uncommon success; and it will reshape even as it reintroduces Judaism into contemporary philosophy and Christian theology." - Gregory Kaplan, Rice University, Modern Theology

"Martin Kavka’s Jewish Messianism and the History of Philosophy combines an extraordinary breadth and depth of scholarship with a degree of living thinking and ethical passion that is indeed rare and wonderful. It is framed as a love letter, an invitation to conversation, addressed to a friend, a Rabbi, and to us, his readers. It is an invitation that I take personally." --Kenneth Reinhard, Journal of the History of Philosophy


Winner of the Jordan Schnitzer Book Award