Is Man a "Sabbatical Animal"? Giorgio Agamben, Franz Rosenzweig, and A. J. Heschel


Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies

Is Man a "Sabbatical Animal"? Giorgio Agamben, Franz Rosenzweig, and A. J. Heschel

Thursday November 3, 2016     5 pm

Agamben’s claim that “man is a sabbatical animal” enlists the Judaic idea of Sabbath to limit the 24/7 temporality of capitalism under neoliberalism. He affiliates the idea of Sabbath—the day of rest—with his ontology of inoperativity, of which schole, the Greek notion of leisure, is another instance. These suspensions of work are joined together by Agamben and juxtaposed to instrumentality or “use", as such. This lecture will interrogate Agamben’s claims, putting him into dialogue with Judaic ideas of Sabbath explored by Franz Rosenzweig and A. J. Heschel. Further, Honig argues for the necessary implication of the weekly Sabbath with the other Sabbaths—land sabbatical, debt sabbatical, and the emancipatory Jubilee—whose aim is not only temporary relief from work or injustice, but the periodic reestablishment of equality.

Bonnie Honig, Brown University

Bonnie Honig is Nancy Duke Lewis Professor of Modern Culture and Media and Political Science at Brown University, and Affiliated Research Professor at the American Bar Foundation, Chicago. She is a prize-winning author of several books, including: Political Theory and the Displacement of Politics (Cornell 1993; Scripps Prize, 1994), Democracy and the Foreigner (Princeton, 2001), Emergency Politics: Paradox, Law, Democracy (2009) (cowinner of the David Easton Prize), and Antigone, Interrupted (Cambridge, 2013). Editor and coeditor of several collections, her most recent (with Lori Marso) is Politics, Theory, and Film: Critical Encounters with Lars von Trier, (Oxford, 2016). Currently, she is finishing a book called Pubic Things (fc 2017, Fordham University Press series Thinking Out Loud) and working on a new book called The Lost Sabbath.

Event Location: 

University of Pennsylvania, Bodek Lounge, First Floor Houston Hall, 3417 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Event Date and Time: 
November 03, 2016 5:00pm
Open to the public
Department of Jewish Studies
Department of History
Not Required
Event Contact: 
Karen Schnitker
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