on Heidegger, Nazism, and the Jewish Other. Wednesday, April 26, 4:00pm, Mosher Alumni House.
The Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies cordially invites you to a special seminar on Professor Elliot Wolfson’s new book:
The Duplicity of Philosophy’s Shadow: Heidegger, Nazism, and the Jewish Other, on Wednesday, April 26, 4 to 6 pm, Mosher Alumni House, Library.
Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) is considered by intellectual foe and friend alike as one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century, and this in spite of his obvious failures as a human being connected to his embrace of National Socialism and, even more damaging, his inability to acknowledge his mistakes publicly and to show remorse or compassion for the victims of the extermination camps. The topic of Heidegger’s flirtation with the right-wing politics of Nazism has commanded much attention in scholarly and popular media. However, before one presumes an indissoluble link between Heidegger’s politics and his thought, one is obligated to submit oneself to the subtleties and complexities of his writings. Elliot Wolfson resists those who disqualify Heidegger as a Nazi ideologue, on the one hand, but recognizes that the greatness and relevance of his work is linked precisely to the fact that he affords us the opportunity to think conceptually about some of the basic tenets of National Socialism, on the other hand. Wolfson’s book sets out to probe Heidegger’s writings to expose what remains unthought in the phenomenon of Nazism, an undertaking that Heidegger himself considered essential to the inquiry into the nature of thinking. Instead of marginalizing Heidegger, and ostracizing all those who would continue to mine his writings, what is necessary is to engage them critically, to deconstruct his own deconstructive hermeneutic.
Elliot Wolfson is the Marsha and Jay Glazer Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies Distinguished Professor of Religion at UC Santa Barbara. He is the author of 13 scholarly monographs, and one book of poetry. Two books are forthcoming: The Duplicity of Philosophy's Shadow: Heidegger, Nazism, and the Jewish Other (Columbia University Press) and Heidegger and the Kabbalah: Hidden Gnosis and the Path of Poiesis (Indiana University Press). Elliot Wolfson has published extensively in the area of Jewish mysticism and philosophy in the medieval and modern eras. Engaging the immense and complex corpus of Kabbalistic texts critically, he seeks to extend and transform this distinctive tradition of speculative thought by intersecting with a range of fields and disciplines, including philosophical hermeneutics, the history and phenomenology of religion, and theories of gender and eroticism.
Thomas Carlson is Professor of Religious Studies at UC Santa Barbara. He is the author of The Indiscrete Image: Infinitude and Creation of the Human and of Indiscretion: Finitude and the Naming of God (both University of Chicago Press), among many other publications. His areas of research and teaching include religion and continental philosophy (especially German idealism, phenomenology, hermeneutics, and deconstruction); the history of Christian thought and culture, mysticism and negative theology, as well as the relations between theology and the emergence of modern science, politics and technological culture. A chapter of Elliot Wolfson’s book will be distributed beforehand. A short presentation by Professor Wolfson will be followed by a response by Professor Thomas Carlson and an open discussion.