• James McLachlan1
  • 1Western Carolina University


In 1937, Emmanuel Levinas published a review of Lev Shestov's Kierkegaard et la philosophie existentielle in the journal Revue des Études Juives. This essay includes a translation of his review as well as an introductory essay that contextualizes it. In her Emmanuel Levinas: The Problem of Ethical Metaphysics (1972), Edith Wyschogrod contended that Levinas' short review contains what "might well be taken as the program of his own future work." Both seek a way out of ontology, but Shestov seeks his escape through a violent wrenching out of the tradition of Western ontology. Levinas would later dub this attempt "the wound that bleeds throughout Shestov's work." Unlike Shestov, Levinas does not seek a lost primordial freedom that existed before being and has been lost ever since. Because Levinas' ethics takes its rise in the relation to the other person, he does not suffer from Shestov's continual wound that cannot be escaped.


  • Levinas
  • Shestov
  • Kierkegaard
  • existentialism

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Preview of Beyond the Self, Beyond Ontology: Levinas' Reading of Shestov's Reading of Kierkegaard


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