chapter  5
14 Pages

Heidegger’s Shadow

Levinas, Arendt, and the Magician From Messkirch
WithJonathan Judaken

This chapter considers how Emmanuel Levinas and Hannah Arendt both thought within but also sought to move beyond "Martin Heidegger shadow": his tutelage, his approach to the Western metaphysical and philosophical tradition, and his support of Nazism. It traces the intellectual legacies of Heidegger, Levinas, and Arendt by mapping how scholars have addressed the debates about Hitlerism, race and racism, Jews and Judeophobia, the Holocaust and genocide, and the ethics and politics in their work. The shadow of Heidegger's relationship to Nazism haunts the scholarship of his views on race. This is because in April of 1933, shortly after Hitler's assumption of the chancellorship and amid the political restructuring of education, Heidegger maneuvered to obtain the post of rector of the University of Freiburg. Levinas and Arendt were twin critics of the stream of Western history that resulted in totalitarianism, racism, empire, anti-Semitism, and genocide.