Sartre as Levinas?


From Sartre’s (notorious?) interviews/discussion with Benny Levy, collected in Hope Now:

The Jewish religion imples that this world will end and, at the same time, another world will appear–another world that will be made of this one but in which things will be made of htis one but in which things will be differently arranged.  There is another theme I like: the Jewish dead–and others too, for that matter, will come back to life, they will return to earth.  Contrary to the Christian conception, they–the present Jewish dead–have nno existence other than that of the grave, but they will be reborn as living beings in this new world.  This new world is the end.

Sartre goes onto explain:

The finality to which every Jew is more or less consciously inclined and which must ultimately reunite humanity.  It is this end, which is at bottom social as well as religious and which only the Jewish people…if you like, it’s the beginning of the existence of men who live for each other.  In other words, it’s an ethical end.  Or more exactly, it’s ethics.  The Jew thinks that the end of the world, of this world, and the upsurge of the other will result in the appearance of the ethical existence of men who live for one another…The question is to find the ultimate end, the moment when ethics will be simply and truly the way in which human beings live in relation to each other.

This is interesting.  It seems to (1) place Sartre in close proximity with not only Levinas (not only with regards to the ethical, but also the critique of Hegel), but (not as closely) Benjamin and perhaps even Scholem and (2) directly contradict much of what he said about Jewish history in Anti-Semite and Jew.  Anyway, peripherally related, this newish book appears to be worth a look: The Figural Jew.

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