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The Creation Chapter
Rosenzweig for Beginners (2013)
  • jules simon, University of Texas at El Paso

This youtube video presents the talk I gave at the Center for Ethics, Law and Applied Philosophy in Belgrade, Serbia at the conference "Rosenzweig für Anfänger / Rosenzweig for Beginners" and that took place June 4-5, 2012

The first paragraph of my talk: "Rosenzweig begins Book One of Part Two in a familiar yet strange way. It is familiar in how he immediately takes up an already established narrative from the Bible through simply repeating the statement that “God spoke.” It is strange, however, because the first thing he draws our attention to in the phrase “God spoke” is how it expresses a temporal condition. It occurs in the form of the grammatical past tense whose content refers us to a previously silent and invisible—because interior—act of the will. That act is one of the strangest and most mysterious of all acts, namely, the act of creation. To create something new—for example, something literally out of nothing—entails putting into motion a powerful expression of spontaneous willfulness. As Rosenzweig notes, this spontaneous expression is what constitutes something totally new, that is, that something could be created out of nothing is understandable as the apparently miraculous prophecy of a process that has become a visible actuality. And that process is the process of our experiencing anything at all. Moreover, the very fact of communicating an understanding of our experiencing anything at all and having that be understood by another is a novelty of human community only able to be enacted through speech because how we talk to each other refers us to our experience of things in the world. To better understand this point, Rosenzweig distinguishes between a creator, in this case, the creator from the biblical story called god, and whatever it is that a creator creates. In order to do that, however, Rosenzweig says that we have to better understand what speaking itself is all about."

My talk was one in a series of talks that will be published as a chapter in the forthcoming book, Rosenzweig for Beginners

  • speech-thinking,
  • speech act,
  • speech acts,
  • Rosenzweig,
  • philosophy of language,
  • analytic philosophy of language,
  • creation thinking,
  • idealist thinking,
  • chaos,
  • logic,
  • philosophy of art,
  • aesthetics
Publication Date
June 7, 2013
Citation Information
jules simon. "The Creation Chapter" Rosenzweig for Beginners (2013)
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