Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  426 / 142 Next Page
Show Menu
Previous Page 426 / 142 Next Page
Page Background






tradition, he returns to the Jewish theologian Franz Rosenzweig to

arrive at the hypothesis that this event of “inner conversion” occurs

“under the impact of divine love” (2001: 124). He then goes on to

draw upon Sigmund Freud’s exploration of the “superego” as well

as Badiou and Agamben’s discussions of Pauline love to make the

claim that “divine love,” which is distinct from the command of the

sovereign, is that which cuts into, “enters into and transforms the

closed particularities of cultural, ethnic, social, and sexual identity”

(2001: 128). What Santner means here is that the divine love is that

which “divides both sides of the identitarian division such that

neither side can any longer enjoy stable self-coincidence” (2001:

129); something else that emerges out of this “cut” or division is

what matters here. It is due to this understanding of the “neither

identical to . . . nor different from” logic “of the noncoincidence of

every identity with itself” that, Santner claims, may eventually help

the self escape the fantasy of exception. With this “not-all logic,”

one then does not see oneself as a “part” to a “whole,” an “exception”

to the “norm.” Given that the fantasy of exceptionalism finds its

expression in and is sustained by seemingly transgressive acts; the

“divine love” is that which interrupts and suspends this fantasy of

exception which valorizes violence and transgression. To translate

this into psychoanalytic terms, to cut into the fantasy of exception

is to stop fantasizing that one “can except myself from the midst of

life” (Santner, 2005: 130) and, instead, accept an ethics of exposure,

whereby one is “exposed to the proximity of the neighbor” (Santner,

2005: 131).

This shift of perspectives is what Chabon is also trying to

articulate through the figure of Landsman, who is prompted by

Mendel’s murder to read differently and think about an impossible

future which can disrupt the traumatic repetition of the past,

disguised as a future possibility. Rather, Landsman learns through

his encounter with, and reading of, Mendel’s death to see his

statelessness as both a blessing and a curse. In between both


a blessing and a curse, something “more” emanates