Readers will note that there are only two main papers this year, one by a Jewish scholar and one by a Christian. It is regrettable that Dr. Qumar al-Huda of Boston College, who was invited to give a paper at the meeting, was unable to do so due to complications and commitments following the events of September 11 th . I can only say how grateful I am for the depth of Koshul’s contribution to the Society, which mitigated this loss as well as could be hoped for.


Among other writings, one could include the following: Louis Massignon, L’hospitalite sacrŗe (Paris: Nouvelle Citŗ, 1987); Emmanuel Levinas, New Talmudic Readings , trans. Cohen (Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1999); Jacques Derrida, “Hostipitality,” in Acts of Religion , ed. Andijar (New York: Routledge, 2001), and “On Cosmopolitanism,” in On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness , trans. Dooley and Hughes (New York: Routledge, 2001).


Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation (Abingdon, 1996).


Derrida, “Hostipitality,” pp. 358-9.


I also regretted this year’s lack of our usual number of Muslim participants, although I recognize that, after September 11 th , Muslim members of the Society had necessary and pressing concerns that made it difficult for them to attend. This difficulty, God willing, will not affect future sessions.


Mt. 9:15, 22:1-14; Lk. 14:16-24, Mt. 8:11, Lk. 13:29, 5:34, Mk. 2:18-22, Is. 62:5, Rev. 19:9; Prodigal Son, Lk. 15:22-3.


See Jon D. Levenson, The Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son: The Transformation of Child Sacrifice in Judaism and Christianity (New Haven: Yale, 1993).


For a Christian critic of religion who takes this view, see Karl Barth, “The Revelation of God as the Aufhebung of Religion,” in Church Dogmatics, , vol. I, part-volume 2, trans. G. T. Thomson and Harold Knight (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1956), pp. 280-362, esp. 280-96. Two caveats: 1) Barth’s critique of religion is supersessionist and anti-Judaic, although it need not be. 2) The standard translation covers up the positive senses of “Aufhebung” with the translation “abolition.” Garrett Green is preparing a new, freestanding translation of this section that overcomes that defect.


Cf. Rowan Williams, Eucharistic Sacrifice: The Roots of a Metaphor (Bramcote, Nottinghamshire: Grove Books, 1982), pp. 14-17.


For a similar exposition of this passage to a different purpose, see Eugene F. Rogers, Jr. Sexuality and the Christian Body: Their Way into the Triune God (Oxford: Blackwell, 1999), pp. 249-68.


Cf. Kendall Soulen, “YHWH the Triune God,” Modern Theology 15 (1999): 25-54.


Along these lines, Aquinas distinguishes the union of the incarnation from the assumption of flesh; see ST III.2.8. As the incarnation is a union, the Son of God is (this) man, whereas assumption does not unite the natures, such that the angels and their bodies remain distinct.


I take this to be the point of Buber’s and Rosenzweig’s translation of Torah into German as Weisung , at once ‘instruction’ and ‘direction.’


Admittedly, this stretches the connections often made in stories of the saints between their sanctity and steadfastness, but not, in my estimation, overmuch or in an obtuse way. More on this below.


In a Coleridgean sense of conceptions “not abstracted from any particular state, form, or mode, in which [a] thing may happen to exist at this or that time” (taken from On the Constitution of Church and State ). I take this definition to be at least roughly analogous to C. S. Peirce’s conception of “A-reasonings” as explicated in Prof. Ochs’ Peirce, Pragmatism, and The Logic of Scripture . In other words, “Ideas”, far from being intellectual abstractions or fanciful constructions, are perhaps best conceived of as “people”, with their own histories, relationships, and, significantly, capacities for disintegration and rehabilitation.


This phrase was used by Wolfson twice during the course of the meeting.


I was and remain unclear both as to whether Prof. Wolfson meant that his own political context was one in which “Levinas works,” and, on a much broader scale, what features of any such context facilitate/inhibit such labour.


I consider Heidegger’s 1946 Brief ueber den Humanismus an instructive example of just such a rejection. Cf. , Pierre Bourdieu’s trenchant l’Ontologie politique de Martin Heidegger .


In this matter, it might be instructive to compare this philosophical manoeuver with the various theological ones cited by Prof. Watson under the heading of “typology” in relation to Justin Martyr and Augustine.


Is it a matter of indifferent accident that the German language makes little distinction between its Praeteritum and Perfect ?


Cf. , Nietzsche’s second “barb” in Goetzendaemmerung : “Even the bravest of us rarely has the courage for what he really knows . . .” (emphasis original). N.B. , this is not of necessity to be taken in a martial sense, which casts doubt on common appropriations of the eighth “barb” (“Whatever doesn’t kill me . . . “).


I hope it is reasonably clear that the issue under scrutiny here is that of philosophy as a discipline — as the courageous practice of direction — rather than the position of any one philosopher, Heidegger included.


The cumbersome, double inverted commas are (unfortunately) necessary to signify the always-reformable nature of “indwelt worlds” their relationship(s) with the real world, with things as they actually are, are at best hopeful, never assured. ( N.B. : this is a, perhaps the , major point of contention between the largest segments of Christian theologies.)


Suspicions that the reality is actually not a duplex, but a triplex, are surely correct. Clarifying the third element, however, is a task far greater than can be attempted in this commentary. Those interested in a modest attempt to do so should consult my forthcoming article, “Forgiving the Truth: God as Enemy and Friend in H. Richard Niebuhr and Karl Barth”.


Psalm 74:8-9 “They said to themselves, ‘We will utterly subdue them’; they burned all the meeting places of God in the land. We do not see our emblems; there is no longer any prophet, and there is no one among us who knows how long” (NRSV). A few days later, Bonhoeffer, who, owing to his physical isolation at the time from larger events in Germany, had not heard of the events of Kristallnacht until several days after they occurred, wrote the following in a newsletter sent to current and former students of the “illegal” seminary of the Confessing Church in Finkenwalde: “I have lately been thinking a great deal about Psalm 74, Zechariah 2:8 and Romans 9:4f and 11:11-15. That leads us to very earnest prayer.”


That, on occasion, and at some times more than others, conversions actually do occur is to my mind an aporia within current understandings of SR. Perhaps this is an area for future work.


The original is: ” pasa graphe theopneustos kai ophelimos pros didaskalian, pros elegmon, pros epanorthosin, pros paidean ten en dikaiosune .” As the NRSV’s editors note, the first clause may also be translated as “Every scripture inspired by God is also . . .” It is interesting in this context to note how Luther translated this verse : “Denn alle Schrift, von Gott eingegeben, ist nuetze zur Lehre, zur Zurechtweisung, zur Besserung, zur Erziehung in der Grerechtigkeit . . .”


Ultimately, it is this latter that makes “Heidegger” the man himself, his philosophy, and those who draw heavily on him (among whom I include Levinas and Derrida, with reserved hope) so problematic for me in these areas. As Gillian Rose argued in The Broken Middle and Mourning Becomes the Law , Heidegger never mourned, never admitted any loss not of his own choosing, and so proved incapable either of effecting real reconciliation or even of recognising where the real rupture(s) actually lay. In her terms, Heidegger mended the middle (the site of rupture, “between” direction and courage) by sanctifying it which in the terms of this commentary amounts to mis-using courage in following a direction. This is a very large claim, and so in need of much substantiation, but perhaps its possibility is not simply obscure. ( Cf. , again, Bourdieu’s work cited in note 5 above.)


To paraphrase an answer of Prof. Wolfson to another, mostly unrelated, question: the Society has not yet been given, as Abram was, an extra syllable to make it a “fuller being.” This raises the question: what must the Society lose in order to receive this plerosis ?


As may be obvious, the last two questions reveal the same complex relation between priority and subsequence noted in each of the two preceding pairs, which has caused me to ponder if a new dimension to Scriptural logic may be located within them.


Markings, translated by Lief Sjoberg and W. H. Auden (Faber and Faber, Ltd. London, 1964), p. 103.


Peah 2:4, 17a.


url for site.


I also must note that I am working from notes rather than a typed transcript, and thus may occasionally mistake someone’s meaning, for which I apologise in advance.


Genesis Rabbah 48:1.


This second question seems less pressing to me. The parallelism between Genesis 17 and 18 in God’s promises and in first Abraham’s (17:17) and then Sarah’s (18:12) laughter in response, seems strong enough to establish a redactional connection between the two chapters, even by the standards of modern biblical criticism.


And I would add that Wolfson also draws on kabbalistic ideas and thus makes use of traditional interpretations, but perhaps not, in Gottstein’s’ view, the best ones to illuminate either Genesis or Rabbinic midrash.


Dr. Haberman also refers to herself as a textual activist, and is a founding member of Women of the Wall, a decade-strong Israeli movement promoting the religious rights of women.


May we all be inspired to start some!