Vladimir Jankelevitch and the Question of Forgiveness

Vladimir Jankelevitch and the Question of Forgiveness

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The essays focus on the work of Vladimir Jankelevitch as a moral philosopher, particularly that aspect of his work dealing with the question of forgiveness. They treat topics such as the place of moral philosophy in relation to his work as a whole, his relationship to contemporary French thought, and the backgrounds of classical Judaic tradition and world literature. The centerpiece of this tableau is Jankelevitch's book Le Pardon (Forgiveness). Chief among the distinguishing characteristics is its rigorous defense of what might be termed a forgiveness free of the entanglements that taint the common understanding of forgiveness-what Jankelevitch refers to as pseudo-forgiveness. The advocacy of forgiveness in the name of political or social expediency, as well as the psychological benefit for the victim, are similarly repudiated. In their place, Jankelevitch substitutes a radical forgiveness that is "initial, sudden, spontaneous"-not able to erase the past, but able to create a new future and, thereby, a new relationship to the past. He does not permit even this future, however, to serve as forgiveness's justification. For him, beyond all justifications, beyond justice itself, forgiveness is a gift akin to love.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 266 pages
  • 157.48 x 231.14 x 27.94mm | 521.63g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739176676
  • 9780739176672
  • 2,167,703

Review quote

A latter-day humanist in the tradition of Montaigne, the essays of the French-Jewish philosopher Vladimir Jankelevitch display a delicacy of insight and a depth of feeling as applied to the broadest range of themes-music, laughter, nostalgia, evil, irony and death. In this volume, a distinguished group of philosophers and historians turn their attention to the essay on forgiveness for which Jankelevitch is best known. Cast into high relief by the horrors of mid-twentieth century European history, the questions raised herein retain a moral urgency undiminished by time and no less of relevance today. -- Peter E. Gordon, Amabel B. James Professor of History, Harvard Universityshow more

About Alan Udoff

Alan Udoff is professor of philosophy and religious studies at St. Francis College. He received his doctorate degree in philosophy from Georgetown University. His publications include edited volumes on Kafka, Rosenzweig, and Leo Strauss.show more

Table of contents

Acknowledgments Exordium Part 1: Forgiveness: Text and Context Chapter 1: Vladimir Jankelevitch at the Colloques des intellectuels juifs de langue francaise Chapter 2: Jankelevitch and the Metaphysics of Forgiveness Part 2: Theory and Praxis Chapter 3: Guilty Forgiveness Chapter 4: The Great Distress Chapter 5: Travelling Light: The Conditions of Unconditional Forgiveness in Levinas and Jankelevitch Chapter 6: Forgiveness and Its Limits Chapter 7: Forgiveness and "Should We Pardon Them?": The Pardon and The Imprescriptible Part 3: The Witness of Literature Chapter 8: New Spartans: Jankelevitch, Scheler and Tolkien on Vanity Chapter 9: To Atone and To Forgive: Jaspers, Jankelevitch/Derrida, and the Possibility of Forgiveness Part 4: At the Crossroads of Theology Chapter 10: The Ethics of Honor and the Possibility of Promise Chapter 11: "After such knowledge, what forgiveness?" On Jankelevitch and the Question of Repentance List of Contributorsshow more

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