Jewish Philosophy Place 3 Years Old (Birthday)

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JPP is now 3 years old, plus or minus a couple of days. And frankly, it’s been a miserable year. A friend-colleague recently commented that he didn’t think I’d touch political problems on the blog. Perhaps that had something to do with my interest in aesthetics. Except that aesthetics is rooted in aesthesis (the organization of perception), which is rooted in place, and place is rooted in politics. That’s the connection between politics and aesthetics-art in general and in relation to religion –at least as I see it.

This year, politics inundated the blog. I probably spent way too much time writing about Israel and Palestine. But there it was –BDS, abduciton murders of Israeli and Palestinian kids in Jerusalem, the war, Israel continuing to corner itself into a 1 state situation, Steven Salaita. This completely miserable year at the blog was then topped off by the recent slaughter in Paris.

What strikes me continually is how small and petty the Jewish political is, especially in relation to Israel and Palestine, about which everyone with even a minimum of good sense is sick and tired. That I posted as much as I did about BDS and Steven Salaita is kind of an embarrassment. This past week, thinking about France, I started posting pictures. These included a medieval illumination of the Prophet Muhammed, cartoons by Eli Valley and Robert Crumb, a little tryptich of my  own invention (two images of the latest Charlie Hebdo Muhammed combined with Magritte’s This is Not a Pipe). I could include in this set some pictures that I posted from a quick trip to Israel at the start of the New Year. As a set of images, they generated pretty quickly. I daresay they self-generated.

Perhaps then the political (as imaginaire) will circle or cycle itself back into art. I’ll have to decide. Frankly, though, I cannot think of a better commentary on the political. I have a lot on my mind relating to my own research on the image and philosophical Talmud. Perhaps another visit to the Islamic galleries are in order. This time, I’ll bring my camera and share some pictures. I will hope or pretend that they present the possibility that we can think something else, something different, something that stands as both a part of and apart from our stupid, brutal reality.

Thanks to you all, dear readers for putting up with me at JPP for another year, and for all the conversation here at the comments and over at the blog’s Facebook page. I would like to think that we are all or can be solace each to each other.



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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7 Responses to Jewish Philosophy Place 3 Years Old (Birthday)

  1. Barbara says:

    “What strikes me continually is how small and petty the Jewish political is, especially in relation to Israel and Palestine, about which everyone with even a minimum of good sense is sick and tired.” I couldn’t agree more. But I don’t think you’re posting too much about Israel/Palestine – we need more (and not less) people saying things that are worth saying and hearing. Well, writing and reading about. Happy birthday and many happy returns.

  2. Jonathan Luftig says:

    Thanks, Zachary, for posting such interesting thoughts on topics ranging from the Tamud and Maimonides to Husserl and the Aesthetics of Cute. Thanks also for articulating the difficulties bound up with taking a liberal and Jewish political stance. When I come to Israel, I often disagree with your conclusions, but I seldom feel as if my own have been entirely dismissed.

    Congratulations and , once agan, thanks.

  3. dmf says:

    being of the school of homo-rhetoricus I wouldn’t be able to draw hard lines between the aesthetic and anything else we do as human critters but can understand that you may need to feed yer soul in ways that you haven’t been this year and will gladly follow where it leads you.

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