Phenomenology of Pregnancy, Maternity and Parenthood in the Writings of R. Joseph Soloveitchik and Emmanuel Lévinas
AbstractThis article aims to explore the philosophical meaning of pregnancy and maternity in the writ-ings of R. Soloveitchik and Emmanuel Lévinas. They both make a phenomenological enquiry into these phenomena, by looking on the biological aspect and the emotional aspects. R. Solove-itchik suggests a spiritual interpretation concerning the meaning of pregnancy, which is both biological and spiritual. He attempts to differentiate between the natural parenthood and the spiritual parenthood. Lévinas gives us the philosophical observation through the phenomenolog-ical research of pregnancy, motherhood and parenthood. For him, this inquiry may be revealed as an ethical occurrence that demand responsibility. Perhaps this is one of the unique dimensions of modern Jewish philosophy, looking towards the religious texts with modern philosophical method and modern philosophy theories. Reading carefully the biblical story of Genesis on the notion of birth and maternity, raises textual questions and cultural questions. For Lévinas and R. Soloveitchik these questions can open the door to new philosophical inquiry.