Temporal Diremption and the Open System: Kabbalistic Atonality and Heidegger's Inceptual Thinking

Thursday, November 3, 2016 - 4:15pm


Dr. Elliot Wolfson Religion Department University of California at Santa Barbara
The Humanities Center

In this lecture, I explore the affinities between the atonality of Heidegger’s speculation on the essence of the truth of being that eludes objectification and the nonsystematic system championed by the kabbalists in their effort to diagram the infinity that resists all schematic representation. I will argue that Heidegger’s Seyn and the kabbalistic Ein Sof are postontological constructs that call into question the suitability of systematic thinking applied to the being that is the singular fragmentation of all beings but that can never be confined to any particular being. Heideggerian and kabbalistic hermeneutics can be contemplated from the perspective of the atonality of thought, which is profitably compared to a musical fugue wherein the different aspects are joined together compositionally into a polyphonic whole in which each jointure intones the same sequence of notes from a contrapuntal perspective without a tonal center. 

Co-sponsors: The Humanities Center, Department of Philosophy and Department of Religion Studies



Jewish Studies