Negative Theology as Jewish Modernity

Negative Theology as Jewish Modernity

Edited by Michael Fagenblat
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 02/27/2017
Format: Paperback 1 b&w illus
ISBN: 978-0-253-02487-9
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Negative theology is the attempt to describe God by speaking in terms of what God is not. Historical affinities between Jewish modernity and negative theology indicate new directions for thematizing the modern Jewish experience. Questions such as, What are the limits of Jewish modernity in terms of negativity? Has this creative tradition exhausted itself? and How might Jewish thought go forward? anchor these original essays. Taken together they explore the roots and legacies of negative theology in Jewish thought, examine the viability and limits of theorizing the modern Jewish experience as negative theology, and offer a fresh perspective from which to approach Jewish intellectual history.

Author Bio

Michael Fagenblat is Senior Lecturer at the Open University of Israel. He is the author of A Covenant of Creatures: Levinas’s Philosophy of Judaism.


“Focuses on a very interesting and important set of themes concerning negative theology, the unknowability of God, and their implications for Judaism.”
 — Michael L. Morgan, author of Levinas's Ethical Politics

“All-in-all, this volume should be of great interest to scholars of Jewish and modern continental philosophy.”
 — Reviews in Religion & Theology

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Table of Contents

Introduction. Delineations: Negative Theology as Jewish Modernity
1. The Limits of Negative Theology in Medieval Kabbalah and Jewish Philosophy
Sandra Valabregue
2. "No One Can See My Face and Live"
Kenneth Seeskin
3. What is Positive in Negative Theology?
Lenn E. Goodman
4. Negative Theology as Illuminating and/or Therapeutic Falsehood
Sam Lebens
5. "My Aid Will Come From Nothingness": The Practice of Negative Theology in Maggid Devarav Le-Ya’akov
James Jacobson-Maisels
6. Secrecy, Apophasis, and Atheistic Faith in the Teachings of Rav Kook
Elliot R. Wolfson
7. Two Types of Negative Theology; Or, What Does Negative Theology Negate?
Shira Wolosky
8. Khoric Apophasis: Matter and Messianicity in Islamo-Judeo-Greek Neoplatonism
Sarah Pessin
9. Negative Dialectics, sive secular Jewish theology: Adorno on the prohibition on graven images and imperative of historical critique
Idit Dobbs-Weinstein
10. The passion of non-knowing true oneness: Derrida and Maimonides on God--and Jew, perhaps
Michael Fagenblat
11. JewishNegative Theology: A Phenomenological Perspective
David Novak
12. Mysteries of the Promise: Negative Theology in Benjamin and Scholem
Agata Bielik-Robson
13. Can Halakhah Survive Negative Theology?
David Shatz,
14. The Stylus and the Almond: Negative Literary Theologies in Paul Celan
Adam Lipszyc
15. "Gods Change": The Deconstruction of the Transcendent God and the Reconstruction of the Mythical Godhead in Yehuda Amichai's Open Closed Open
Tzahi Weiss
16. The Politics of Negative Theology
Martin Kavka

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