Please excuse the critical remarks, under which I would include my own work, but I wish there were more “fat” philosophers. Indeed, I can think of no “fat” Jewish ones, even though I think there is something comic about how seriously Jewish philosophy takes itself vis-à-vis the ethical, political, or theological positions we assume. “Jewish philosophy” seems constitutionally unable to distinguish between posture (without which there is no such thing as discourse) and mere posing (of which there is too much).
It’s the hiding behind hermeneutics and the utter seriousness by which we stake positions that compares so unfavorably with rabbinic practice. We have a lot more to learn from the Bavli. First thing is to set aside the Levinas. What I like so much about Boyarin’s Socrates and the Fat Rabbis is the non-normative, post-ethical or non-ethical positioning, the close attention to “the concretely sensuous plane of images and events,” (as per Boyarin [p.278] citing Bakhtin [Problems of Dostoyevsky’s Poetics, p.134]).
One thing perhaps that both the Bavli and aesthetics might contribute to Jewish philosophy is a little irony, a little surface irregularity, a wink and nod and a tongue in cheek. Overinvested in categories and concepts, Jewish philosophers tend to hyper-moralize, or we pretend to be “political” which is why it sometimes seems that no one takes us seriously. We tend not see the art in anything. There has been absolutely no critical attention to “rhetoric” in contemporary Jewish philosophy, and very little understanding of its art.
Perhaps, perhaps, a little more Hume, a little more Nietzsche, a little more Deleuze, a little more Rorty, a little more Cavell, and lots less Kant, Hegel, and Levinas. Consider too Judith Butler’s utterly unfunny blurb to the back of Socrates and the Fat Rabbis, where she writes about the close attention [to that which] fails to conform to authoritative law.” Her devotion to subversion I find too serious. It’s a seriousness which we’d expect from a philosopher, not from a rabbi.