Levinas and Camus
Humanism for the Twenty-first CenturyeBook - 2008
This important new book compares the respective oeuvre of two seminal thinkers of the 20th century, Emmanuel Levinas and Albert Camus. Tal Sessler compares their lasting legacies within the specific context of intellectual resistance to totalitarianism and political violence, with particular focus on their respective approaches to the Holocaust and genocide in the 20th century and, correspondingly, the question of theodicy and religious faith.
Levinas and Camus explores each thinker's congruent and complimentary metaphysical and political rationale in opposing tyranny. Sessler emphasises the religious component in Levinas's depiction of Hitlerism as paganism (a perception that Camus shares), and the correlation between liberalism and monotheism. The book explores Levinas and Camus's reflections on the Holocaust and the question of theodicy and deals with their corresponding critiques of Stalinism and Hegelian philosophy of history.
Sessler goes on to consider how Levinas and Camus would have contended with the central political issue of our own era, religious fundamentalism, and explicates the dualist nature of Israel and Algeria in the writings of Levinas and Camus.