Taking Life out of Nature: Jewish Messianic Vitalism and the Problem of Denaturalization

Agata Bielik-Robson


The aim of my essay will be to focus on the problem of denaturalization as the main conceptual axis which organizes the crucial difference between Shem and Yafet, the Jewish and the Greek thought. While the Jewish mode of thinking relies on the affirmation of the denaturalizing process that constitutes the very gist of Exodus, the progressive exit of man out of the house of natural bondage – the Greek paradigm, which, paraphrasing Rosenzweig, spreads from “Ionia to Jena, and beyond,” approaches the idea of man’s maladaptation to nature (phusis) with suspicion and appears to be driven by a nostalgic, regressive ideal of renaturalization.

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