The Creature, the First Question: An Essay

  • 1 Tel Aviv University, Haim Levanon Str., Tel Aviv, Israel
Galili Shahar


The article deals with the notion of the “Creature” as being displayed in Joseph Wittig’s essay titled Der Weg zur Kreatur. This piece by Wittig (1879–1949), one of the co-founders of the journal Die Kreatur, himself a banished Catholic thinker, an excommunicated theologian, was published in the third volume of the journal in 1929/1930. The major argument to be presented here, following Wittig’s essay, concerns the path (but also the method) into the world of the creature, namely, the way-back, a regression, which depends on counter-movements, suspensions, gestures of recollection and witnessing. This path is based on the potentialities of the “first question” – a demand for the first word, a proper name for the silent, forgotten creature, being invited to encounter. The encounter with the creatures is a method of thinking, a way of being in this world that is based on the possibility of asking rightly the “first question”. For what this question performs is an attention, hearing of, a method of listening. In asking the question of (and for) the creature, language itself turns toward the world of the creation, in a search for a proper name, calling creation to be heard, to belong.

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Naharaim is a peer-reviewed journal of the Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Research Centre at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. It is devoted to current research in philosophical, literary, and historical aspects of German-Jewish culture. The contributions are mainly in German or English.