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Existentialist Messianism

January 9 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm





Martin Buber ended a 1909 lecture he gave in Prague with a parable suggesting that each of us is responsible for bringing the Messiah. Some years later, Franz Kafka – who may have been in Buber’s audience – wrote a famous story that echoes Buber’s parable in striking ways. A little later, Walter Benjamin wrote what looks like a riff on it. We’ll look at all three texts, plus the Talmudic passage on which Buber was drawing, and consider whether they give us a modern, existentialist way of making sense of Messianism.

ABOUT THIS SPEAKER: Samuel Fleischacker is a Professor. He studied at Yale University, receiving his Ph.D. in 1989. He works in moral and political philosophy, the history of moral and philosophy,and the philosophy of religion. Among the issues that have particularly interested him are the moral status of culture, the nature and history of liberalism, the relationship between moral philosophy and social science, and the relationship between moral and religious values. His publications include The Ethics of Culture (Cornell, 1994), On Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations: A Philosophical Companion (Princeton, 2003), A Short History of Distributive Justice (Harvard, 2004), Divine Teaching and the Way of the World (Oxford, 2011), Kant’s Questions: What Is Enlightenment? (Routledge, 2012), and The Good and the Good Book (Oxford, 2015). Professor Fleischacker has been a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, the University Center for Human Values at Princeton, and the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities at Edinburgh University. He taught previously at Williams College.


January 9
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
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Temple Chai
4645 E Marilyn Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85032 United States