With some regularity, American
political discourse deals with the claim that the evacuation of God from the public realm has led, or will inexorably lead, to the occurrence of evil. Today, people who say such things are
typically right-wing Christian conservatives. But two generations ago, people who said such things could have been liberal Jews, who argued that the US must see itself as bound by God’s
covenant if the West were successfully to resist the evils of communism and fascism.
In explaining why religious actors have insisted on sacralizing this nation, Kavka will also show how the Jewish tradition contains other strands in its sacred writings that show a way past our
contemporary battles about the proper place of religion in public.
Kavka’s primary research interest is the discourse of modern Jewish philosophy. He explores how Jews in the modern West have appropriated (and resisted appropriating!) various ideas and arguments
in the canon of modern Western philosophy from Kant to Rorty, in the interest of articulating both Jews’ difference from and commonality with Western culture.