Continental Philosophy Review

, Volume 52, Issue 4, pp 381–395 | Cite as

Nietzsche and Levinas on time

  • Nibras Chehayed


Despite the criticisms that Levinas addresses to Nietzsche throughout his writing, he also praises Nietzsche’s legacy. In Humanism of the Other, he indicates how the Nietzschean man is “‘reducing’ being, […] undoing by the non-saying of dance and laughter […] the worlds that weave the aphoristic verb that demolishes them; retiring from the time of aging […] by the thought of the eternal recurrence” (Levinas in Humanism of the other, trans. Nidra Poller. University of Illinois Press, Chicago, p 65, 2003). Interpreting Nietzsche’s ambiguous thought of the eternal recurrence as a source of youth, Levinas brings to light the fertility of Nietzsche’s concept of temporality. The aim of this paper is first to render Nietzsche’s thought on time more explicit, focusing on his approach to eternal recurrence, and then to study Levinas’ own approach to time. In the end, it will be possible to understand better Levinas’ interpretation of Nietzsche, and to shed light on some important similarities between these two different approaches to time.


Nietzsche Levinas Time Eternal recurrence 



  1. Anderson, Lanier. 2005. Nietzsche on Truth, Illusion, and Redemption. European Journal of Philosophy 13: 185–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bergo, Bettina. 2010. Le Messianique philosophique chez Levinas. Comme une chair se faisant parole. Mondes francophones: Revue mondiale des francophonies:
  3. Bergo, Bettina, and Jill Stauffer (eds.). 2008. Nietzsche and Levinas. After the Death of a Certain God. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bovo, Elena. 2005. Absence/Souvenir. La relation à autrui chez E. Lévinas et J. Derrida. Turnhout: Brepols.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cohen, Richard. 2003. Responsible Time. Cahier d’études Lévinassiennes 2: 39–54.Google Scholar
  6. Gemes, Ken. 2008. Nihilism and the Affirmation of Life. A Review of and Dialogue with Bernard Reginster. European Journal of Philosophy 16: 459–466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Granarolo, Philippe. 1993. L’Individu éternel. L’expérience nietzschéenne de l’éternité. Paris: Vrin.Google Scholar
  8. Hatab, Lawrence J. 2008. Shocking Time. Reading Eternal Recurrence Literally. Nietzsche on Time and History, ed. Manuel Dries. Berlin, New York: de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  9. Heidegger, Martin. 1985. History of the Concept of Time. Prolegomena, trans. Theodore Kisiel. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Heidegger, Martin. 1996. Being and Time, trans. Joan Stambaugh. New York: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  11. Husserl, Edmund. 1960. Cartesian Meditations. An Introduction to Phenomenology, trans. Dorian Cairns. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.Google Scholar
  12. Levinas, Emmanuel. 1987. Time and the Other, trans. Richard A. Cohen. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Levinas, Emmanuel. 1996a. Basic Philosophical Writings, ed. Robert Bernasconi and Simon Critchley and Adriaan Theodoor Peperzak. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Levinas, Emmanuel. 1996b. Proper Names, trans. Michael B. Smith. London: The Athlone Press.Google Scholar
  15. Levinas, Emmanuel. 1997. Difficult Freedom. Essays on Judaism, trans. Sean Hand. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Levinas, Emmanuel. 1998. Entre Nous on Thinking-of-the-Other, trans. Michael B. Smith and Barbara Harshav. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Levinas, Emmanuel. 2003. Humanism of the Other, trans. Nidra Poller. Chicago: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  18. Levinas, Emmanuel. 2006. Otherwise Than Being Or Beyond Essence, trans. Alphonso Lingis. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Levinas, Emmanuel. 2011. Totality and Infinity, trans. Alphonso Lingis. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Nehamas, Alexander. 1980. The Eternal Recurrence. The Philosophical Review 89: 331–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Nietzsche, Friedrich. 1962. Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks, trans. Marianne Cowan. Washington D.C.: Regnery Gateway.Google Scholar
  22. Nietzsche, Friedrich. 1968. The Will to Power, trans. Reginald John Hollingdale and Walter Kaufmann. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  23. Nietzsche, Friedrich. 1974. The Gay Science, trans. Walter Kaufmann. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  24. Nietzsche, Friedrich. 1982a. Twilight of the Idols, in The Portable Nietzsche, trans. Walter Kaufmann. New York: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  25. Nietzsche, Friedrich. 1982b. Thus Spoke Zarathustra, in The Portable Nietzsche, trans. Walter Kaufmann. New York: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  26. Nietzsche, Friedrich. 1996. Human, All Too Human, trans. Reginald John Hollingdale. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Nietzsche, Friedrich. 1999. The Birth of Tragedy and Other Writings, ed. Raymond Geuss and Ronald Speirs, trans. Ronald Speirs. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Nietzsche, Friedrich. 2002. Beyond Good and Evil, ed. Rolf-Peter Horstmann and Judith Norman, trans. Judith Norman. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Richardson, John. 2006. Nietzsche on Time and Becoming. A Companion to Nietzsche, ed. Keith Ansell-Pearson. Malden: Blackwell: 208–229.Google Scholar
  30. Severson, Eric. 2013. Levinas’s Philosophy of Time. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Simhon, Ari. 2010. Levinas lecteur de Nietzsche. Cahiers d’études lévinassiennes 9: 257–285.Google Scholar
  32. Small, Robin. 2010. Time and Becoming in Nietzsche’s Thought. New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  33. Wotling, Patrick. 2008. La Philosophie de l’esprit libre. Introduction à Nietzsche. Paris: Flammarion.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CERILACUniversité de ParisParisFrance
  2. 2.CNRS-IfpoBeirutLebanon

Personalised recommendations