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Temptations of Christianity: Henri Bergson, Simone Weil, Emmanuel Levinas

Tuesday, 25. April 2017 - 17:00
Location: 
Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Lentzeallee 94, 14195 Berlin, Small Conference Room
Host: 
Center for the History of Emotions
Contact: 
Christina Becher, sekfrevert@mpib-berlin.mpg.de

The Center for the History of Emotions at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, led by Prof. Ute Frevert, cordially invites all interested to attend its summer semester 2017 colloquium.

Guy G. Stroumsa, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Temptations of Christianity: Henri Bergson, Simone Weil, Emmanuel Levinas

The presentation will discuss three twentieth-century French philosophers who, born Jewish, showed (in highly different ways) the strong spiritual appeal of Christianity, in the 1930s and 1940s, in deeply tragic times for Jews. While Bergson and Weil chose Christianity and rejected Judaism (while refusing baptism, in order to remain with the persecuted), Levinas opted for Judaism. The paper, seeking to build a taxonomy of these attitudes, will show how in each case, this appeal comes from highly different mindsets and feelings.

Guy G. Stroumsa is Martin Buber Professor Emeritus of Comparative Religion, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Professor Emeritus of the Study of the Abrahamic Religions, and Emeritus Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford. He is a Member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities and holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Zurich. He is a laureate of the Humboldt Research Award, and a Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite. Author of fourteen books and more than one hundred and thirty articles, editor or co-editor of twenty books. Among his recent publications: The Scriptural Universe of Ancient Christianity (Cambridge, Mass, 2016), The Making of the Abrahamic Religions in Late Antiquity (Oxford, 2015), A New Science: the Discovery of Religion in the Age of Reason (Cambridge, Mass., 2010), and The End of Sacrifice: Religious Transformations of Late Antiquity (Chicago, 2009; paperback 2012; Original French edition, 2005; also Italian, German and Hebrew translations).