Jews and Christians on Time and Eternity: Charles Peguy's Portrait of Bernard-Lazare

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This book grapples with a wide range of contemporary ethical and religious issues through the lens of the reflections of Charles Peguy on his friend and mentor Bernard-Lazare. Both Peguy, a leading French Catholic poet and philosopher, and Bernard-Lazare, an iconoclastic Jewish intellectual, were passionately involved in the Dreyfus Affair, which forms the background of these reflections. The book is in four parts. The first sets Peguy's portrait of Bernard-Lazare in a series of contexts, analyzing it against the background of the rampant antisemitism of its time, situating it in relation to present-day discussions about the Other, and, especially, placing it within various twentieth-century attempts to rethink religion. Peguy's great contribution in this area lies in redirecting our attention to the ways human beings respond to defeat, and to the ways the intellect is oriented by something outside itself, as keys to the discovery of the transcendent. His work reformulates the meaning of hope and incarnation. The second part of the book presents Peguy's portrait of Bernard-Lazare in a complete English translation. In the third part, the author shows the affinity of Peguy's thought to that of two Jewish thinkers, Franz Rosenzweig and Emmanuel Levinas. All three, in rethinking the religious dimension, located it amidst the daily interactions between people. The final part explores the implications of this notion of transcendence for the task of interpretation in the social sciences and the humanities.