Richard Wolin’s review of Bettina Stangneth’s newly translated book about Adolf Eichmann caused a stir, mainly about Hannah Arendt and the banality (or not) of evil. Yale Professor Seyla Benhabib responded in a New York Times piece, others blogged, and Wolin responded in an essay on our website. Now Professor Benhabib has rejoined the debate and Professor Wolin has replied a final time. Here’s a guide to the exchange from the original review to its last installment.
- The Banality of Evil: The Demise of a Legend by Richard Wolin
Bettina Stangneth’s newly translated book Eichmann Before Jerusalem finally and completely undermines Hannah Arendt’s famous “banality of evil” thesis.
- Who’s on Trial, Eichmann or Arendt? by Seyla Benhabib
On September 21, 2014, on The New York Time’s website, Seyla Benhabib argued that a “rejection of the ‘banality of evil’ argument . . . does not hold up” and took issue with Wolin’s review.
- Thoughtlessness Revisited: A Response to Seyla Benhabib by Richard Wolin
Richard Wolin responds to Benhabib’s “ringing reaffirmation of Hannah Arendt’s notion of the banality of evil.”
- Richard Wolin on Arendt’s “Banality of Evil” Thesis by Seyla Benhabib
Seyla Benhabib rejoins the debate, contesting Wolin’s critique of Arendt’s banality thesis on historical and philosophical grounds.
- Arendt, Banality, and Benhabib: A Final Rejoinder by Richard Wolin
In the final installment of the exchange, Wolin defends and amplifies his critique.
Daniel Matt’s massive new English edition of the Zohar is not only a great translation, it is also one of the great commentaries on the classic work of Jewish mysticism. Insofar as it is possible, Matt has brought the unfathomable, mysterious, and poetic depths of this “book of radiance” to the English reader.
Kafka continues to interest everyone from academics to Hasidic slam poets.
Leo Strauss may be as devastating as C. S. Lewis in his criticism of facile and destructive dogmas, but Hollywood isn’t planning a film version of Strauss’s Natural Right and History any time soon.
Memorials remain, unmoved and unchanged, by the inevitable erosion of memory.