Roy Amir is a postdoctoral fellow at the Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Research Center for German-Jewish Literature and Cultural History at the Hebrew University. His research focuses on Kantian and Neo-Kantian philosophy, specifically on Herman Cohen. Before joining the Franz Rosenzweig Center, he was a PhD fellow at the Department of Philosophy at Potsdam University. His research was supported by the Mandel School for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the Hebrew University, the Minerva Foundation and the ISF research project "Theocracy and Perfectionism in Modern Jewish Philosophy"; led by prof. Benjamin Pollock. His dissertation, completed at the Hebrew University, analyzes the notion of rationality in Cohen's System of Philosophy.
The notion of political theology – a kind of metaphysical-hermeneutical paradigm – plays a dominant role in current philosophical and theological discourses. In my postdoc project, I approach this paradigm from the critical point of view of one of its fiercest adversaries, Hermann Cohen's Neo-Kantian notion of rationality. The project, titled Religion, Politics, Reason and the Possibility of a Political Theology in the Philosophy of Herman Cohen, is both historical and philosophical. First, contra to a popular approach to Cohen's philosophy of religion as a source for a rational (i.e., ethical) political theology, I stress Cohen's critique of the very rationality of political theology as such, which he takes to be a form of political materialism. This materialism, for Cohen, is amoral and has devastating consequences for politics as well as for theology. I show that Cohen's critique is derived directly from his systematical grounding of rationality, specifically from the conditions of possibility of moral thinking and its actualization. Finally, based on Cohen's critique, I consider the possible political meaning of Cohen's theology and offer possible philosophical principles for a rational approach to the relation between theology and politics.