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On Bible & Judaism

Since my dissertation on the book of Jeremiah, I’ve been engaged with the question of whether we can better understand the Hebrew Scriptures by reading them as philosophical texts. Many people assume that the biblical texts are “revelation,” and that they are supposed to be read mostly for what they have to tell us about miracles or the afterlife. But the Hebrew Bible doesn’t seem to be about these things. I see the biblical works as being much more similar to other works of reason composed in antiquity, which were written to advance views on ethics and political  philosophy, metaphysics and theory of knowledge.

In 2009, I organized the first of series of annual conferences at Shalem in Jerusalem for scholars of philosophy, political theory, Bible and other disciplines who are interested in exploring the philosophy of the biblical authors. A year later, I was awarded a grant by the John Templeton Foundation to conduct an international research initiative on the philosophical investigation of the Hebrew Bible, Talmud and Midrash. This is called the Jewish Philosophical Theology project, of which I’m the Director. This initiative includes fellowships for scholars for wishing to work in this field, as well as workshops for graduate students and for rabbinic students.

My book The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture (Cambridge, 2012) is an introduction to this subject. A follow-up volume is God and Politics in Esther (Cambridge, 2016). A volume on the God of the Hebrew Scripture is in the works. 

You can stay current with developments in the area of philosophy of the Hebrew Bible, Talmud and Midrash by subscribing to the Bible-Philos listserv.

 

Books

God and Politics in Esther (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016)

The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012).

Aaron Wildavsky, Moses as Political Leader, Yoram Hazony, edited with introduction (Jerusalem: Shalem Press, 2005).

 

Articles

“The Bible and Leo Strauss,” Perspectives on Political Science 45 (Summer 2016), pp. 190-207.

“Three Replies: On Revelation, Natural Law, and Autonomy in Jewish Theology,” Journal of Analytic Theology 3 (2015), pp. 172-205.

“Jerusalem and Carthage,” Hebraic Political Studies (Summer 2008)

“Does the Bible Have a Political Teaching?” Hebraic Political Studies, (Winter 2006)

“Judaism and the Modern State,” Azure 21 (Summer 2005)

“The Jewish Origins of the Western Disobedience Tradition,” Azure 4 (Summer 1998)

 

Jerusalem Letters

"Torah From Heaven: Moses and Sinai in Exodus," November 28, 2016

"A Conversation With Morgan Freeman About God," September 19, 2016

"Nationalism and the Future of Western Freedom," September 6, 2016

"The Bible and Leo Strauss," June 15, 2016

"Esther: Be the Miracle," March 13, 2016

"Morgan Freeman Asks Me About the Messiah," February 21, 2016

"Conversation With George Weigel: The Bible and the Future of the West," January 31, 2016

"The Vatican and the Jews," December 27, 2015

"Is Ahashverosh Jesus?," December 8, 2015

"The Question of God’s Perfection," October 8, 2015

"What Is Revelation?," May 21, 2015

"Isaiah Berlin Lecture: The Place of the Jew in Contemporary Philosophy," February 22, 2015

"Open Orthodoxy?," May 27, 2014

"Jaco Gericke’s ‘The Hebrew Bible and Philosophy of Religion’," November 7, 2013

"The Christian Alternative Resurrected: Why Can’t Jews Do That?," July 4, 2013

"Response to Jon Levenson: Is There a Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture?," December 2, 2012

"An Imperfect God," November 26, 2012

"My Conversation With the Chief (VIDEO)," November 13, 2012

"The Biblical Case for Limited Government," October 29, 2012

"Political Metaphors in Hebrew Scripture," September 19, 2012