Between the City of Men and the City of God

Federico Dal Bo

Abstract


In the present paper I will address Emmanuel Levinas‘long commentary on a relatively short Talmudic passage dedicated on the Biblical institution of the “cities of Refuge,”na­mely asylum cities erected for those who have been cleared by the court for committing murder but were found guilty of manslaughter. Levinas comments on this relatively mar­ginal Biblical institution that is treated at length both in the Palestinian and the Babyloni­an tractate Makkot—which mostly pertains to “lashes,” namely corporal punishment in­flicted by the whip and, by extension, any other corporal, penal, or monetary punishment in consequence of a specific transgression.

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