Hermann Cohen (1842–1918) was a leading figure in the Neo-Kantian philosophical movement that dominated European thought before 1918. He is also the inaugural figure for what is meant by "modern Jewish philosophy" in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. This book explores Cohen’s striking claim that ethics is rooted in law – a claim developed in both his philosophical ethics and his philosophy of Judaism, in particular in his writings on "love-of-neighbor," up to and including his well-known Religion of Reason.
Dana Hollander proposes that neither Cohen’s systematic philosophy nor his "Jewish" philosophy should be seen as the dominant framework for his oeuvre as a whole, but that his understanding of key philosophical questions takes shape in the passages between both corpuses, a trait that could be seen as paradigmatic for modern Jewish philosophy. Ethics Out of Law taps into one of the prime topics of current interest in the field of Jewish philosophy: the nature of Jewish political existence and the changing configurations of "law" that this entails.