Western Theory’s Chinese Transformation


Chinese scholars are increasingly interested in Jewish philosophy and culture and the philosophical concept of redemption. That is bringing about more and more studies on Walter Benjamin and Emmanuel Levinas, two of the most well-known Jewish philosophers. In these studies, conducted with different approaches and from diverse perspectives, Chinese scholars are attempting to connect the philosophers’ theories with some of their Chinese counterparts. Overall, they are well received or Sinicized, but in different fields, and to different extent, deserving an in-depth comparative study. Obviously a large amount of works have been produced in attempts to have dialogues with Benjamin and Levinas’s philosophies, but they are in need of some general commentary and reflection. For example, the political allegories and expectations in Benjamin’s philosophy of redemption have been eliminated, while his aesthetics has been repetitively studied in apolitical ways. Similarly, Levinas is much too conservatively received, and the relationship between Levinas’s ethics of “embracing the other” and qin qin(亲亲)in Confucian ethics also needs further examination.