Justicia (Gerechtigkeit)

Ng, Julia. 2016. Justicia (Gerechtigkeit). In: Esther Cohen, ed. Glosario Walter Benjamin: conceptos y figuras. Mexico: UNAM. ISBN 9786070283239 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

Benjamin’s thinking on justice originates from a complex of early writings on language, mathematics, and history, which were composed around 1916 as part of a series of conversations and letter exchanges with Gershom Scholem. From the outset, Benjamin is interested in the relation of justice to the genesis of judgment in human language; he begins with the premise that justice has a language but that this language, by which judgment and the law ostensibly communicate justice, is not necessarily coextensive with the idea of justice. Justice per se is thus to be regarded as distinct from its immediately communicable content in any particular legal system or national framework. Moreover, according to the Biblical account of their origination, the judgments comprising the linguistic execution of justice, which purport to discriminate between good and evil, do not derive from a knowledge of things as such but already and only communicate an abstraction. By contrast, mathematics is upheld as having the capacity to designate a non-linguistic residuum of creation, which penetrates through the conditions of our possible representation of things, including our representation of things as our rightful possessions. The notion of justice on which law hinges thus turns out to be wholly incompatible with the teleological, eschatological and epistemological underpinnings of the Christological worldview, as well as with the occupation of habitable land in physical space.

Item Type:

Book Section

Additional Information:

Translated into Spanish by María Ordóñez and Marianela Santoveña.

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Centre for Cultural Studies (1998-2017)
English and Comparative Literature



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Date Deposited:

13 May 2016 09:42

Last Modified:

21 Mar 2019 14:32



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