Aesthetics @ Jewish Philosophy Place (Aesthetics & Jewish Philosophy) (A Little Polemic)

Jewish Philosophy Place (JPP) is a vanity. I want others to see what I see and what they don’t see, to see connections that maybe don’t exist, to care about something about which they don’t care. Perhaps the connections I want to draw between ephemera and art-contents here at JPP are too arbitrary. Perhaps they are a figment of the conceits that motor my imagination.

It could just be that my entire way of doing things is incoherent. But nowadays, it seems more true than not that Jewish philosophy types are generally uninterested in aesthetics and art. Not always, but still mostly, they don’t seem to care. It’s not considered important, not like epistemology, ethics, and “the political,” about which many of us are commenting and writing, especially after 9/11. (I can think of exceptions, whom I will allow to go unnamed.)

As for what seems to be the general rule, you can see evidence of it here at JPP. Posts about politics and cultural politics get more hits. Posts about Judith Butler, Daniel Gordis and Leon Wieseltier are a case in point. When I write about art and aesthetics, there’s not as many hits, not as much interest. The same goes with “ephemeral” versus more substantive posts, the latter getting more attention than the former.

But there’s a wrinkle to this. When I write about art and aesthetics, I get an entirely different group of readers, readers who have nothing to do with Jewish philosophy, Jewish Studies, or even Jewish life and culture. “They” are complete “strangers,” fellow bloggers at WordPress. I know you’re out there, coming to JPP, because you register your presence and your interest by “liking” the individual post. I have no idea who you are. I have no idea what if any interest you have in “Jewish Philosophy” or in JPP, and I’ll assume the answer is none. But there you are, and that’s really cool.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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