Annual List Lecture in Jewish Studies
This lecture by Elliot Wolfson, which is part of the CSWR's initiative on "Transcendence and Transformation," will examine the viability of a kabbalistic ideal of transformation from the vantage point of identifying repentance as the hypernomian foundation of the nomos, the grounding of the law in the ground that exceeds the law of the ground. I argue that the hallmark of religious nihilism is not antinomianism but the promulgation of the belief that impiety is the gesture of supreme piety. I will explore the subject of hypernomianism by a close analysis of the concept of infinitivity and its engendering in Derridean terms the law beyond the law, which he identified further as the nonjuridical ideal of justice, the gift of forgiveness, the aspect of pure mercy in relation to which it is no longer viable to distinguish guilt and innocence.
Elliot R. Wolfson, a Fellow of the American Academy of Jewish Research and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, is the Marsha and Jay Glazer Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies and Distinguished Professor of Religion at University of California, Santa Barbara.