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On the Origins of Rosenzweig's "Metaethics":
Kant, Hegel and Goethe
Josiah Simon
University of Oregon
n his "Notes on the Baroque," written in 1908 but first
published just recently, Rosenzweig argues that the 18th
century was exemplified by a central problem in the life of the
young Goethe: "the division of personality and life." 1 "[A]ll his restless
searching," he declares of Goethe, "was no searching at all, but rather an
unceasing discovery; what must have appeared to him as failed attempts
to harmonize the I and the world, were moreover positive stages upon the
infinite path towards the realization of these two."2 In the following paper, I
show how the origins of Rosenzweig's "metaethics" provide a picture of his
own "unceasing discovery" of life and personality. I argue that a
constellation can be formed around the idea of "individuality" within
Rosenzweig's intellectual biography, connecting his first published book,
Hegel and the State, to the "Urzelle" or "Germ Cell," to Part I of The Star
of Redemption. By tracing the lines of this constellation, I show how the
emergence of Rosenzweig's "metaethics" is revealed through his
encounters with the historical personalities of Kant and Hegel, and in a
different sense entirely, the figure of Goethe.
In his essay on "metaethics", with the informative title "Constructing
a Perfect Solitude", Ernest Rubinstein playfully simplifies Rosenzweig's view
of the Ever-Enduring Proto-Cosmos laid out in Part I of The Star: "things
are not really other things: the world around us is not really God, God is
Rosenzweig, Franz. "Notizen zum Barock (1908/09)". In Rosenzweig
Jahrbuch/Rosenzweig Yearbook 4, (2009): 295.
Ibid. 297
Proceedings of the Internationale Rosenzweig Gesellschaft
not really us, and we are not really either God or the world."3 Who or what
are we then? Or to ask more personally: Who am I? What is my "true
existence"? 4 This "ever-enduring" question of self-identity accompanied
Rosenzweig from his earliest engagement with German culture to his life as
a practicing Jew. Throughout his writings, an urgent curiosity surrounding
the concepts of individuality and personality emerge, finally culminating in
his notion of the "self" in The Star. One cannot help but think that the
referent of this "self" is often none other than Franz Rosenzweig. Thus, by
examining the origins of Rosenzweig's "metaethics," we are not only
examining his theory of the "self," but also implicitly exposing the contours
of his own biography.
Within Part I of The Star, the first reference towards the origins of
"metaethics" is a brief allusion to Immanuel Kant's notion of the
"intelligible character" of mankind. Underlying this notion, which is
contrasted to our "empirical character," is Kant's transcendental unity of
apperception introduced in the Critique of Pure Reason; this "pure,
original, unchanging consciousness" 5 is captured in his argument, that
each thought we think, must be accompanied by an 'I think' preceding the
thought itself. This precludes any knowledge of what lies behind this 'I
think,' corresponding to Rosenzweig's claim that we know "nothing" of
mankind. Kant's "intelligible character" and Rosenzweig's "metaethics"
converge in the fact that we cannot know what lies behind the unity of selfconsciousness; that we cannot point to it as a thing in the world. This
"unity of self-consciousness" also grounds our "empirical character," by
way of which we act under the laws of the world of appearance. Our
transcendental self, however, is not subject to these same laws. Rather, as
Kant states in his Critique of Practical Reason, our "intelligible character" is
"determinable only through the laws that [one] gives himself by reason."6
For Kant, this is the ethical seat of freedom within the individual. For
Rosenzweig "the self-consciousness of man" is ultimately the awareness of
Rubinstein, Ernest. "Constructing a Perfect Solitude: Metaethics in Franz Rosenzweig's
Star of Redemption." In "The Spirit of Poesy", Evanston: Northwestern University Press,
2000. 226
Rosenzweig, Franz. The Star of Redemption. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame
Press, 1970. 63
Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Pure Reason. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
A 107
Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Practical Reason. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
1997. 5:98
Josiah Simon
its "finite essence." In its Kantian abstraction, our "free will" becomes the
"defiance" of the self against this mortality. But paradoxically, this
"freedom" requires that our "intelligible character" stand in opposition to
an "empirical" world. This led to Kant's famous claim, repeated in various
forms throughout his writings, that 'man is a citizen of two worlds.'
For Rosenzweig, this claim must be qualified. Indeed, through our
birth as distinct and unique individuals we form meaningful relationships
with greater entities that give our lives meaning, for example, as citizens
belonging to a state or as worshipers belonging to a temple; however, this
relation of particular to universal does not capture the self, it is rather an
expression of the "metalogical" individual. As free "intelligible characters"
we are not really in the world at all. We are free from the world and its
relations, free to follow our own ethos, the "metaethical" self. These 'two
worlds' of individuality and self can be traced back to Rosenzweig's first
published book, Hegel and the State. 8 In this work, the elements so
distinctly held apart in Part I of The Star are set in relation within a
biographical, narrative stream. Read closely and with an eye towards the
future, we can find in this stream a primary source on the origins of
Rosenzweig's "metaethics."
Hegel and the State, mostly finished in 1913, but first published in
1920, critically unfolds Hegel's idea of the state using a method of
narrative biography. Within this work, Rosenzweig's concept of
"individuality" first emerges. Beginning with Hegel's earliest writings on
religion and politics, Rosenzweig introduces a problem he will trace
throughout the entire book: the relation of the individual to the state.
Following the trajectory of Hegel's own development, Rosenzweig
juxtaposes the particularity of the individual to the universality of the state.
This contrast, by way of which Rosenzweig measures the ethical health of
Hegel's state, leads from Hegel's firm defense of the rights of the
individual in his youth, to a complete sacrifice, in Rosenzweig's reading, of
the freedom of the individual to the "will" of the state in The Philosophy of
Right. By exposing the limits of Hegel's view of "individuality" Rosenzweig
was already undermining Hegel's claim to totality and foreshadowing his
own understanding of the "metalogical" in The Star, namely, that "the
unity of the philosopher's view" is "personal, experienced,
Rosenzweig, Star, 67
Rosenzweig, Franz. Hegel und der Staat. Berlin: Suhrkamp Verlag, 2010 (1920).
Rosenzweig, Star 52
Proceedings of the Internationale Rosenzweig Gesellschaft
In writing his book on Hegel, Rosenzweig had hoped to show how
Bismarck's state was partially made up from the fragments of Hegel's ideal.
With the end of the First World War, however, Rosenzweig's dream of a
renewed political order was buried under the rubble of the past. What
endured, I would like to argue, was not only the conceptual pieces of
Rosenzweig's "metalogical" critique of Idealism, but the very beginnings of
his "metaethical" understanding of the self.
Hegel and the State is not only a meditation on the development of
"individuality" in Hegel's thought, but also a biography of Hegel's life. As a
biography, Hegel and the State prefigures Rosenzweig's concern for the
life of the individual in The Star. While it is easy to get lost in the historical
details of the Hegel book, Rosenzweig always brings his readers back to
the life in question. In this sense, he is following the lead of his teacher
Meinecke, and Dilthey before him, who believed that history could best be
told through the lives of 'world-historical individuals.' Thus, as much as
Hegel and the State is a critique of Hegel's philosophy, it is perhaps just as
significantly a critique of a historical personality.
This is most apparent in Rosenzweig's "Frankfurt" chapter, where
Hegel's life and thought come together in proximity to Hölderlin to form
the "turning-point" of his view on the state. Rosenzweig writes that while in
Frankfurt, Hegel developed a notion of "the necessary isolation of the
inner person,” which he termed the "highest subjectivity." 10 Rosenzweig
interprets this "highest subjectivity" as Hegel's "tragedy"11 of personal life.
Already here, traces of Rosenzweig's "metaethics" can be found. However,
Hegel's personal "tragedy" is soon swept up into his mature view of the
state. Where once the fate of the individual was to be found in the
particularity of personal life, Hegel later looks for this same fate in the
universal life of the state. Shortly before the turn of the 19th century, Hegel
thought that in order for Germany to become a state of its own, it had to
acknowledge "the power of the universal over the individual." 12 For
Rosenzweig, Hegel's Frankfurt period represents his transition from the
"riddles of personal life" 13 to his belief in the powers of history and
eventually the establishment of his theory of ethical life.
In this biographical episode, which stands at the center of the first
volume of Hegel and the State, there is a curious overlap with
Rosenzweig, Hegel und der Staat, 107
Ibid. 121
Ibid. 122
Ibid. 102
Josiah Simon
Rosenzweig's own intellectual biography. It is often recounted, that in 1913
Rosenzweig reached a turning-point in his development: his decision,
despite a promise to convert to Christianity, to remain a Jew. In 1913,
Rosenzweig was 26 years old, more or less the same age as Hegel in
Frankfurt. In a letter to his childhood friend Gertrud Oppenheim from two
years earlier, 1911, he describes the development of the Frankfurt chapter
and his interpretation of Hegel's turning-point: "I could not write it out of
subjective experience, for I do not think I am that far along yet; if it is
correct, than it is "anticipation" in the sense it is discussed in Dichtung und
Wahrheit."14 This is not the messianic anticipation of The Star, but rather
the subjective feeling Goethe describes in his autobiography: "a longing
for that, which we already quietly possess." Goethe continues: "Thus, a
passionate grasping for the truly possible transforms into a dreamed
reality."15 What Rosenzweig dreamed of in the Frankfurt chapter regarding
Hegel's turning-point, he unknowingly already possessed: namely, that
very defiance of the self he will later term the "metaethical." Yet while
writing Hegel and the State, before he found in Judaism that calm "sea of
faithfulness," 16 Rosenzweig's own "personality" and "life" remained in
If Hegel and the State can be understood as the workshop for
Rosenzweig's own life and thought, then "metaethics" is one of its most
unfinished projects. This is evident if we observe the elements that will
later help limit and define Rosenzweig's understanding of the self.
Individuality, personality, tragedy—they all lay strewn about without any
apparent order and without a unified concept of the "self." But it is
precisely this unfinished form that provides a clear view into the genesis of
Part I of The Star. In order to understand the link between Hegel and the
State and the finished form of "metaethics" in The Star, I would like to turn
to Rosenzweig's letter to his cousin Rudolf Ehrenberg from 1917: the
"Urzelle" or "Germ-Cell"17 of The Star of Redemption.
Readers of The Star will easily recognize in Rosenzweig's "Urzelle"
the architectonics of the finished work. In attempting to formulate a
Rosenzweig, Franz. Briefe, ed. Edith Rosenzweig. Berlin: Schocken Verlag, 1935.
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang. Aus meinem Leben: Dichtung und Wahrheit. München: Carl
Hanser Verlag, 1985. 418.
Rosenzweig, Star 170
Rosenzweig, Franz. ""Germ Cell" of The Star of Redemption. In Franz Rosenzweig's
"The New Thinking". Ed. Alan Udoff and Barbara E. Galli. Syracuse: Syracuse University
Press, 1999.
Proceedings of the Internationale Rosenzweig Gesellschaft
concept of revelation for his cousin, Rosenzweig experiments with a
symbolic logic, which would later help define the three hypothetical
starting-points of human knowledge: "A=A" as the knowledge of God;
"B=A" as the knowledge of the world; and "B=B" as the knowledge of
man. If we continue to draw the line from Hegel and the State, then it is
easily recognizable that the life of the individual is again at the center of
the investigation. Yet in the "Urzelle" the individual—in this sense moving
from the historical-philosophical towards the theological—stands as a "free
personality" over and against the absolute.
Rosenzweig first delineates the concept of the "absolute" in order
to show how the symbol for "man," B=B, cannot be derived from it. At
most, the absolute, or God as A=A, can call out to man, that decisive
moment of revelation from the book of Genesis, "Adam! where are you?
(Gen. 3:9): "only in this event that happened to it can [man] think another
B=B, to which the same thing has happened, a neighbor, who is like
You."18 In the "Urzelle," Rosenzweig is already developing "metaethics" as
a precondition for what will appear as "revelation" in Part II of The Star.
But the "Urzelle" just as readily reveals what is at stake in Part I. And here,
with the notion of a "free personality," we return once again to Kant.
With his understanding of freedom as "the miracle in the world of
appearances," Kant is credited with first discovering what Rosenzweig
calls, without further explanation, the "free personality." 19 This
corresponds to the convergence of Kant's "intelligible character" with
"metaethics" in The Star: "the metaethical in man makes man the free
master of his ethos so that he might possess it and not vice versa."20 In
Hegel and the State, Rosenzweig showed how for Hegel, particular
individuals find their highest expression of freedom within the universal
state. As Hegel writes in §258 of Elements of the Philosophy of Right, "it is
only through being a member of the state that the individual himself has
objectivity, truth and ethical life."21 In the Urzelle, Rosenzweig shows how
Kant opposes Hegel by looking for the freedom of the individual precisely
in its separation from the world—his "intelligible character." What is
fascinating in Rosenzweig's letter, however, is that with the notion of a
"free personality" the concrete life of the individual takes precedence over
Ibid. 56
Rosenzweig, "Germ Cell", 52
Star, 17
Hegel, G.W.F. Elements of the Philosophy of Right. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1991. 276
Josiah Simon
the abstract thought of the philosopher. It is within this context that
Rosenzweig calls Kant "personally the greatest of all philosophers,"
because "he alone has not forgotten through businesslike association with
the truth how to be a child and a fool."22
This humanizing moment in Rosenzweig's letter brings out the
biographical undercurrent in all of his thinking. Already in his youth,
Rosenzweig formulated the now famous question: "Why does one
philosophize? For the same reason that one makes music or literature or
art. Here too, in the last analysis, all that matters is the discovery of one's
own personality." 23 In Hegel and the State, Rosenzweig's biographical
presentation overlapped with the discovery of his own personality. And in
the introduction to Part I of The Star, where Rosenzweig sketches a
collection of historical personalities—Hegel, Kierkegaard, Schopenhauer,
Nietzsche—a biographical method again sets the tone. In the Urzelle,
linking these two books, we again learn of an intrinsic piece of
Rosenzweig's biography: the year 1800, "the unrest in my intellectual
For Rosenzweig, the year 1800 "means an absolute end, i.e. an
absolute beginning: as Hegel discovered in himself the last philosopher, so
Goethe discovered in himself the first Christian."25 In commenting on this
passage from the "Germ Cell," Bruce Rosenstock points out that with
Hegel, we find "a man who brings philosophy to its fulfillment in his own
self-consciousness." "With Goethe," he continues, "a man chooses to
shape his life as a classical work of art."26 What can be concluded, for both
Hegel and Goethe, is summed up in Rosenzweig's own assessment of the
year 1800: namely, that for him this epochal divide "revolves around the
philosopher in contrast to the philosophy."27 But what implications does
this fascination with the lives of Hegel and Goethe, and Kant as well, have
for the development of "metaethics" in Part I of The Star? Paradoxically,
that with "metaethics," which is supposed to capture the essence of man
entirely free from the world, Rosenzweig has in mind a historical self
endowed with a personality. It is first with Goethe, however, that
Rosenzweig, "Germ Cell," 52
Rosenzweig, Briefe, (1.4.1906)
Rosenzweig, "Germ Cell", 47
Ibid. 63
Rosenstock, Bruce. Philosophy and the Jewish Question: Mendelssohn, Rosenzweig and
Beyond. Fordham: Fordham University Press, 2010. 135
Rosenzweig, "Germ Cell," 63
Proceedings of the Internationale Rosenzweig Gesellschaft
Rosenzweig's finds something more than with Kant and Hegel. Again in his
"Notes on the Baroque," Rosenzweig writes that Goethe "searched to no
avail for a world, which was in tune with his I."28 It was rather in the "world
of art," which for Rosenzweig is "no world at all,"29 but that realm that
eternally preserves the self in its solitary isolation, that Goethe's "I" found
solace. With Goethe, what is preserved for Rosenzweig in Part I of The Star,
was not yet the historical personality of Part III, but a personality in the
realm of literature: the tragic hero Faust. With Goethe's Faust, Rosenzweig
breaks freely into the language of The Star. What was locked in the tension
between life and personality is finally shaped into the "metaethical" self.
The development of Rosenzweig's "metaethics" has led us from
"individuality" in Hegel and the State to "personality" in the "Germ Cell"
and now finally to the "metaethical" self in The Star. The outstanding
quality of the "self" for Rosenzweig is its mortality; hence he begins Part I
with a reflection on our knowledge of death. The essence of the self is
captured in an image Rosenzweig borrows from Goethe: "What
distinguishes gods from men?" asks Goethe, "[t]hat many waves walk
before the former—us the wave lifts, the wave swallows and we sink
away."30 Set as we are within this stream of time—as Rosenzweig showed
for Hegel in his first book—faced with our own mortality, we grow defiant,
the self wishes "to remain." For coupled with its mortality, the "self" has
the desire for immortality. It is thus in the free act of defiance against its
own fate that the self first encounters itself. This encounter, now in stark
distinction from Kant, Rosenzweig terms "character."
In Part I of The Star, Rosenzweig develops his notion of the "self" as
"character" in opposition to the notion of "individuality" as "personality."
As a 'citizens of two worlds,' the human being is both a self and an
individual. With his "two worlds," however, Kant ultimately failed to
capture the essential quality of the self. "The fact is," writes Rosenzweig,
"only one of them is world. The sphere of the self is not world, nor does it
become world by being called world."31
With our natural births, "the great day of fate for individuality,"32 we
are born into the world as individuals among other individuals. As
individuals, we are already set in relation to higher communities—the
Rosenzweig, "Notizen zum Barock," 296
Rosenzweig, Star, 81
Ibid. 63
Rosenzweig, Star, 70
Ibid. 71
Josiah Simon
relation of particular to universal. It is from within this relation that our
personalities are formed and expressed: "personality is man playing the
role assigned to him by fate, one role among many in the polyphonic
symphony of mankind."33 As opposed to this individual with personality,
the "metaethical" self is not set in relation to other individuals at all: "It is
alone; it is none of the "children of men"; it is Adam, Man himself."34 For
Rosenzweig, "character" is not something that "becomes" or "forms", not
something that plays itself out on the stage of the world as personality,
rather, the self is alone with its "character", and it is through this
"character" that it first recognizes itself as self: "[o]ne day the self assaults
man [...] and takes possession of all the wealth in his property [...] [h]e has
become quite poor, has only himself."35 Thus, the "character" of the self is
not something derived from worldly experience, but precisely what
distinguishes the self from the worldly individual: "The self is solitary man
in the hardest sense of the word: the personality is the "political animal."36
This pairing of the "metalogical" view of the individual as "political
animal" and the "metaethical" view of the solitary self, has caused trouble
for some interpreters of Rosenzweig. Nathan Rotenstreich writes, for
example, "when we place that which has to be seen as unique, and thus
irreducible, within a context that shows, as it were, the continuity between
that thing and a whole beyond it, we undermine irreducibility." 37 For
Rosenzweig's methodology to work here, he must assume as Rotenstreich
does, that the "metaethical" self is "meant to cut the basic tie between the
human individual and the human whole or mankind."38 In order to achieve
this radical break between the individual as personality and the individual
as character, Rosenzweig uses an image of the "metaethical" self,
borrowed from the realm of art and ultimately leading towards his
appreciation of Goethe: the tragic hero.
Within Rosenzweig's philosophy of language, what defines the self
in "metaethics" is above all the concept of silence: "the seal of its
greatness as well as the stigma of its weakness."39 If in Kant Rosenzweig
found the philosophical inspiration for the solitary self, and in opposition to
Ibid. 68
Ibid. 69
Ibid. 71
Ibid. 71
Rotenstreich, Nathan. "Rosenzweig's Notion of Metaethics." In The Philosophy of Franz
Rosenzweig. Ed. Paul Mendes-Flohr. Hanover: University Press of New England, 1988. 73
Ibid. 82
Rosenzweig, Star, 77
Proceedings of the Internationale Rosenzweig Gesellschaft
Hegel he sharpened his distinction between individuality and self, then it is
in the image of the silent tragic hero that the self as character is fully
captured. Rosenzweig references Greek tragic drama—specifically that of
Aeschylus—where the dramatic form, precisely as a visible art form, allows
the quality of silence to be represented, to be shown: "Tragedy cast itself
in the artistic form of drama, just in order to be able to represent
speechlessness."40 Although even in Attic tragedy the hero will often find
himself in a sort of dialogue, Rosenzweig writes that "[t]hey do not learn to
speak, they only learn to debate."41 It is thus in the "great silences" and in
the "lyric monologues" 42 of the tragic hero that the image of the
"metaethical" character of man is captured. Yet while in The Star of
Redemption Greek tragedy is one explicit source of Rosenzweig's
reflections on "metaethics" and silence, underlying this classical reference
is the relation to Goethe and his modern tragic drama Faust.
"The life of the self", writes Rosenzweig, "is no orbit, but a straight
line leading from one unknown to another." 43 Between these two
unknowns, birth and death, man moves from individuality to selfhood. The
apex of this course and thus when we are most ourselves, is in "old age":
The aged no longer have a personality of their own; their share in
the common concerns of mankind has paled to a mere memory. But
the less they are still individualities, the harder they become as
characters, the more they become self.44
When Rosenzweig wrote The Star of Redemption, he had yet to attain this
"old age" he speaks of with such authority, indeed, his life would be cut
short before he ever could. It is rather from the literary figure of Faust that
he draws his image of the "hardening" of the self into its own character. At
the beginning of the second part of Goethe's Faust, "[Faust] has already
forfeited all his rich individuality [...] and just for that reason appears at last,
in the final act, as a character of consummate hardness and supreme
defiance, really and truly as a self."45 And at the end of the second part,
directly before his death, Faust is alone and blind, without Mephistopheles.
Ibid. 77
Ibid. 77
Ibid. 77
Ibid. 72
Ibid. 72
Ibid. 72
Josiah Simon
It is first now that he realizes "that to bring to fruit the most exalted plans,
one mind is ample for a thousand hands."46 It is in this solitary moment that
Faust finds "A land of Eden sheltered here within."47 For Rosenzweig, this
image of Faust as a defiant tragic hero anticipates his notion of the
"metaethical" self.
Goethe's tragic drama Faust, and especially the second part, is not
only an indispensible source for understanding the notion of "metaethics",
but serves to show how this notion is assumed as the basis for the entirety
of Part I of The Star. The last lines of the introduction to Part I, where the
three meta-sciences were first sketched out, culminates in the pairing of
Rosenzweig's project with a central scene from the journey of Faust:
The Nothing of our knowledge is no single Nothing, but rather a
triple Nothing. Thus, it contains in itself the promise of definability.
And therefore we can hope, like Faust, to again find the "All" that
we have to dismember in this Nothing, this threefold Nothing of
knowledge. "Descend then! I could also say: arise!48
The "threefold Nothing of knowledge", which "contains in itself the
promise of definability" corresponds in Rosenzweig's thinking to the silent,
and thus pre-linguistic "ever-enduring protocosmos", the three metasciences. This "protocosmos" of thought is a play on the "realm of the
Mothers" from Goethe's Faust. In the scene "Dark Gallery," after Faust has
already experienced the depths and heights of earthly life, he must
descend alone, without the aid of Mephistopheles, to a "solitary" realm
without space and without time. For Goethe, this realm represents the
solitary world of poetry and thought—the realm of "art"—and is
accordingly where Faust is sent to look for a three-footed, glowing
cauldron containing the spirit of absolute beauty. For Rosenzweig, this
"realm of the Mothers" first corresponds to the "proto-cosmos" of the
three meta-sciences. However, within the description of "metaethics" in
the final book of Part I, we learn that these meta-sciences correspond to
the "wordless understanding" of the realm of art. 49 "Prior to any real
human speech," writes Rosenzweig, "art creates, as the speech of the
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von. Faust. A Tragedy. New York: W.W. Norton & Company,
2001. (line 11509)
Ibid. line 11569
Rosenzweig, Star, 21/22
Ibid. 80
Proceedings of the Internationale Rosenzweig Gesellschaft
unspeakable, a first, speechless, mutual comprehension, for all time
indispensible beneath and beside actual speech. The silence of the tragic
hero," he continues, "is silent in all art and is understood in all art without
any words."50 As a work of art, Goethe's Faust—"a tragedy of the absolute
man in his relation to the absolute object"51—provides its readers with a
glimpse into that realm of the "unspeakable." For Rosenzweig, this realm,
"the secret pre-history of the soul," 52 is captured in the ever-enduring
silence of the "metaethical" self.
In Kant, Rosenzweig found the inspiration for "metaethics", in
Hegel, the opposition, which helped clarify its character. In the drama
Faust, Rosenzweig found with Goethe a literary model for the
"metaethical" itself. It is on the basis of this model, and thus from the
notion of "metaethics," that Rosenzweig begins his own journey into The
Star. Only by descending into the solitary and silent realm of the self, could
Rosenzweig finally arise anew to language and life. In this sense,
"metaethics" is to be carefully preserved as one marches through the
pages of The Star. In Rosenzweig's own words: "Without the storms of
defiance in the self, the silence of the sea in the faithfulness of the soul
would be impossible." 53 This "defiance," as best expressed in
Rosenzweig's decision to "remain a Jew" and throughout in his "unceasing
discovery" of personality and life, reveals the true origin of the
"metaethical:" Rosenzweig himself. His work of art, self-wrought from the
irons of German thought and only then freely infused with the language of
his Jewish soul, is The Star of Redemption.
Ibid. 81
Ibid. 210
Ibid. 170
Ibid. 170