The French philosopher Emmanuel Levinas (1906–95) was one of the most original Jewish thinkers of the twentieth century. This book interprets the Hebrew Bible through the lens of Levinas’s religious philosophy. Richard I. Sugarman examines the Pentateuch using a phenomenological approach, drawing on both Levinas’s philosophical and Jewish writings. Sugarman puts Levinas in conversation with biblical commentators both classical and modern, including Rashi, Maimonides, Sforno, Hirsch, and Soloveitchik. He particularly highlights Levinas’s work on the Talmud and the Holocaust. Levinas’s reading is situated against the background of a renewed understanding of such phenomena as covenant, promise, different modalities of time, and justice. The volume is organized to reflect the fifty-four portions of the Torah read during the Jewish liturgical year. A preface provides an overview of Levinas’s life, approach, and place in contemporary Jewish thought. The reader emerges with a deeper understanding of both the Torah and the philosophy of a key Jewish thinker.
“Sugarman rightly treats Levinas as a thoroughly Jewish religious thinker, an approach to the great thinker that is much needed. Taking such an approach, he opens up new, innovative horizons in Torah commentary and analysis. Through a perceptive reading of Levinas through the biblical lens, he offers an insightful illumination of both the Bible and Levinas. Some may not be sure what to make of Sugarman’s work here, but then that is how it always is with innovative approaches.” — David Patterson, author of The Holocaust and the Nonrepresentable: Literary and Photographic Transcendence
Richard I. Sugarman is Professor of Religion at the University of Vermont. He has published several books, including Rancor against Time: The Phenomenology of Ressentiment, as well as numerous articles on Levinas.
What would it be like to journey back to the first century and sit at the feet of Rabbi Jesus as one of his Jewish disciples? How would your understanding of the gospel have been shaped by the customs, beliefs, and traditions of the Jewish culture in which you lived?
Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus takes you on a fascinating tour of the Jewish world of Jesus, offering inspirational insights that can transform your faith. Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg paint powerful scenes from Jesus’ ministry, immersing you in the prayers, feasts, history, culture, and customs that shaped Jesus and those who followed him. You will hear the parables as they must have sounded to first-century Jews, powerful and surprising. You will join the conversations that were already going on among the rabbis of his day. You will watch with new understanding as the events of his life unfold. And you will emerge with new excitement about the roots of your own Christian faith.
Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus will change the way you read Scripture and deepen your understanding of the life of Jesus. It will also help you to adapt the rich prayers and customs you learn about to your own life, in ways that both respect and enrich your Christian faith. By looking at the Jewishness of Jesus, Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg take you on a captivating journey into the heart of Judaism, one that is both balanced and insightful, helping you to better understand and appreciate your own faith.
This newly expanded softcover edition includes a discussion guide for both individuals and groups, and instructions for a simple home Passover Seder celebration.