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The Other and Divine Mystery: The Mystical Origin of Levinas’ Idea of Divine Mystery

  • Journal of Humanities, Seoul National University
  • 2018, 75(3), pp.139-172
  • DOI : 10.17326/jhsnu.75.3.201808.139
  • Publisher : Institute of Humanities, Seoul National University
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Received : June 30, 2018
  • Accepted : August 1, 2018
  • Published : August 31, 2018

Wook Joo Park 1

1연세대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The origin of Levinas’ phenomenology of the Other and his idea of mystery is Judaic. This is an evident fact that Levinas himself has acknowledged and most Levinas researchers have assented to. However, there seems to be something missing from this consensus. Researchers should be reminded that Levinas’ idea of mystery was developed through serious communication with Heidegger’s mysticism, which was conducted in a very refutative manner. It would not be going too far to say that Levinas’ idea of mystery was affected by Heidegger’s mysticism in such and such a way. In order to substantiate this inference, the present study delves into specific details and the methodical structure of Levinas’ argument of divine mystery. This is followed by a comparative approach to Levinas’ idea of divine mystery and Eckhart’s mystical thought, which has been indicated as one of the primary origins of Heideggerian mysticism. In so doing, the present study demonstrates that Eckhart’s mysticism, which was interpreted in an existential way by Heidegger, constitutes one of the primary origins of Levinas’ idea of divine mystery, albeit more or less secondarily when compared with the Torah of Judaism. This is followed by a suggestion of the implications of this demonstration.

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