Boehm Wins Leipzig Book Award for European Understanding

The 2024 Leipzig Book Award for European Understanding has been awarded to philosopher Omri Boehm (The New School) for his book Radical Universalism.

The award, which includes 20,000 euros, will be presented to Professor Boehm at the Leipzig Book Fair taking place later this month.

The award jury writes:

The German-Israeli philosopher Omri Boehm will be honoured with the 2024 Leipzig Book Award for European Understanding for his uncompromising defence of the core values of humanistic universalism and the obligation to recognise the equality of all human beings without relativising in any way. In his latest book, entitled Radical Universalism: Beyond Identity (2022), Boehm resolutely opposes the ideological hardening of the present and takes Kant’s definition of enlightenment as man’s emergence from self-imposed immaturity as the basis for a critical examination of Western liberalism and its tendency to think in terms of identities that then become absolute.

According to Boehm, even in modern societies, ultimate truths are necessary in order to protect human equality and dignity. He does not shy away from promoting metaphysical rationales for universalism, finding them in the intersection of Kant’s philosophy and the legacy of the biblical prophets. In an original reading of the Hebrew Bible, he discovers a figure of disobedience in Abraham, who sacrificed the ram instead of his son. By insisting on the idea of justice against God, Abraham becomes the archetype of ethical monotheism. Kant then interprets this idea in the language of modern philosophy. Omri Boehm’s groundwork on humanistic universalism is of significant political relevance. His books, including A Future for Israel: Beyond the Two-State Solution (2020), simultaneously defend and challenge liberal democracies by demanding obligatory universalism.

You can learn more about the prize, and see a list of previous winners, here.

(via John Bengson)

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