By Lev Shestov
For greater than thousand years, philosophers and theologians have wrestled with the irreconcilable competition among Greek rationality (Athens) and biblical revelation (Jerusalem). In Athens and Jersusalem, Lev Shestov?—?an concept for the French existentialists and the most important interlocutor of Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, and Martin Buber throughout the interwar years?—?makes the gripping disagreement among those symbolic poles of old knowledge his philosophical testomony, an argumentative and stylistic journey de force.
Although the Russian-born Shestov is little identified within the Anglophone global this present day, his writings prompted many twentieth-century ecu thinkers, corresponding to Albert Camus, D. H. Lawrence, Thomas Mann, Czeslaw Milosz, and Joseph Brodsky. Athens and Jerusalem is Shestov’s ultimate, groundbreaking paintings at the philosophy of faith from an existential point of view. This new, annotated version of Bernard Martin’s vintage translation provides references to the mentioned works in addition to glosses of passages from the unique Greek, Latin, German, and French. Athens and Jerusalem is Shestov at his so much profound and such a lot eloquent and is the clearest expression of his idea that formed the evolution of continental philosophy and ecu literature within the 20th century.
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Additional info for Athens and Jerusalem
Its narrowness, its lack of imagination, its preoccupation with xxix Introduction "objectivity" and its wish to extrude from thought all human emotion, its conviction that there is nothing in the world that is essentially and forever mysterious and rationally inexplicable, its refusal even to entertain the possibility of a universe in which the rules of traditional logic (such as the principles of non-contradiction and identity) do not hold sway - all this condemns it to sterility. If philosophy is to serve the human spirit rather than destroy it, it must Shestov maintains - abandon the method of detached speculation and disinterested reflection (what Husserl called Besinnung); it must become truly "existential" in the sense of issuing out of man's sense of helplessness and despair in the face of the stone walls of natural necessity.
And furthermore, should he not in all fairness have conceded that while science (or rather, an excessive worship of science) may have at times xlii Introduction enslaved man, it has also given him a greater measure of power over nature and thereby broadened the range of his freedom? Faith, Shestov maintained, results in the liberation of man not only from all physical compulsion but also from all moral constraint. " He is freed from subjection to all ethical principles and moral valuations, and returns to the paradisiacal state in which the distinction between good and evil and between right and wrong is non-existent.
In this respect there is hardly any difference between Leibniz and Kant. The latter has told us that reason avidly aspires to necessary and universal judgments. It is true that, in the case of Kant, the element of constraint seems to play a decisive and definitive role: even if there should be men whom the truths do not persuade, whom they irritate as experience irritates Kant, this would be no great misfortune; the truths would nevertheless constrain them and thus fully succeed in justifying themselves.
Athens and Jerusalem by Lev Shestov