Prodigal Son/Elder Brother

Interpretation and Alterity in Augustine, Petrarch, Kafka, Levinas

Jill Robbins

Prodigal Son/Elder Brother
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Jill Robbins

184 pages | © 1991
Cloth $45.00 ISBN: 9780226721101 Published July 1991
"I don't know of any other book that deals with the hermeneutical problem of the relationship between Christianity and Judaism in the way this one does. Full of cunning and unpredictable turns, Prodigal Son/Elder Brother addresses the question of the elder brother's fate by opposing two sets of readings, Christian and Jewish, ancient and modern, figural and midrashic. No one, after reading this book, will any longer connect Judaism and Christianity with a hyphen."—Gerald L. Burns, University of Notre Dame

"Through a creative reading of the prodigal son parable, Jill Robbins demonstrates the hermeneutical impasse of the Christian exegete who must and yet cannot incorporate the Old Testament. Having disclosed the aporia at the heart of Christian hermeneutics, she proposes an alternative approach to the Hebrew Bible and new interpretations of Augustine, Petrarch, Kafka, and Levinas. Robbins brilliantly integrates the discourses of biblical texts, literary works, and critical analysis."—Mark C. Taylor, Williams College
Introduction: Figurations of the Judaic
1. Prodigal Son and Elder Brother: The Example of Augustine's Confessions
2. Petrarch Reading Augustine: "The Ascent of Mont Ventoux"
Toward the Outside
3. Kafka's Parables
4. Alterity and the Judaic: Reading Levinas
Conclusion: Versions of the Other
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