• Jewish Philosophy

  • Courses

    Qualified upperclass students may receive permission to take courses in Jewish Philosophy at Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies. Please see the Schedule of Classes for the current semester’s offerings.


    JPHI 1131; 1132 Introduction to Jewish Philosophy
    3 credits

    Philosophical foundations of Judaism; readings from classical and contemporary writers; major religious and national issues and philosophical concepts. First semester: basic beliefs; second semester: contemporary issues. For beginning-, elementary-, and intermediate-level Jewish studies students.

    JPHI 1135, 1136 Survey of Jewish Philosophy
    3 credits

    Survey of Jewish thought on selected present-day religious, moral, and ethical issues; discussion and analysis based on traditional and contemporary writings.

    JPHI 1203; 1204 Jewish Ethics
    3 credits

    The moral philosophy of Judaism; individual and social problems in light of Jewish ethical norms and values; readings from selected texts, both medieval and modern.

    JPHI 1214 Theories of Evil
    3 credits

    The problem and definition of evil as understood in Talmudic literature and medieval and modern Jewish philosophy.

    JPHI 1224 Theories of Prophecy
    3 credits

    Survey of medieval Jewish sources on the nature and scope of prophecy.

    JPHI 1309 Jewish Eschatology
    3 credits

    Analysis of textual sources—ancient, medieval, and modern—dealing with eschatology in Judaism.

    JPHI 1441; 1442 History of Jewish Philosophy
    3 credits

    Problems and concerns of the major Jewish thinkers; role of philosophy within Judaism. First semester: through the medieval period; second semester: modern thought.

    JPHI 1611, 1612 Medieval Jewish Philosophy
    3 credits

    Selected topics and readings from Albo, Bahya, Crescas, Yehudah HaLevi, Maimonides, Saadiah, and relevant background study (Neo-Platonism, Kalam, Aristotelianism).

    JPHI 1626 Philosophy of Saadiah Gaon
    3 credits

    Analysis of the Hebrew text of the Emunot veDe'ot, emphasizing Saadiah's treatment of philosophical problems; comprehensive study of Saadiah's philosophy from the historical perspective.

    JPHI 1647; 1648 Philosophy of Yehudah HaLevi
    3 credits

    Analysis of the Hebrew text of the Kuzari, emphasizing HaLevi’s views on the Jewish religion, Jewish history, the people of Israel, and preeminence of the Land of Israel; HaLevi’s philosophy and its relevance to contemporary Jewish life and thought. For intermediate and advanced students in Jewish studies.

    JPHI 1650 Philosophy of Maimonides
    3 credits

    Selections from the philosophical works of Maimonides: Sefer HaMada of Mishneh Torah, the Eight Chapters, the Guide for the Perplexed.

    JPHI 1651; 1652; 1653; 1654 Philosophy of Maimonides
    3 credits

    More detailed studies of the material covered in JPHI 1650.

    JPHI 1801, 1802 Jewish Thinkers of the 18th Century
    3 credits

    JPHI 1803; 1804 Jewish Thinkers of the 19th Century
    3 credits

    Leading exponents of Jewish thought in the 19th century, with emphasis on the works of Moses Mendelssohn, N. H. Wessely, S. D. Luzzatto, and S. R. Hirsch.

    JPHI 1813; 1814 Modern Jewish Thought
    3 credits

    Introduction to the philosophical works of the great Jewish thinkers of the past two centuries. Selected readings.

    JPHI 1815; 1816 East European Jewish Thought
    3 credits

    Selections of representative religious thought from the writings of the Tanya, the Gaon of Vilna, R. Hayyim of Volozhin, R. Israel Salanter and the Mussar Movement, the Hazon Ish, Rav Kook.

    JPHI 1817; 1818 Philosophy of Zionism
    3 credits

    Major idea, approaches and texts during the 19th and 20th centuries.

    JPHI 1843; 1844 Contemporary Jewish Philosophy
    3 credits

    History and development of major currents in contemporary Jewish thought, including Orthodoxy, Reform, Conservatism, Reconstructionism, and neo-Hasidism.

    JPHI 1845; 1846 Philosophy of Rav Soloveitchik
    2–3 credits

    Readings in Rabbi J. B. Soloveitchik’s writ¬ings. The lecture supplies background material and contrast in general and Jewish philosophical reflection.

    JPHI 1853, 1854 Modern Jewish Problems
    3 credits

    Basic legal concepts, attitudes, and opinions relative to contemporary society that emerge from the Talmud, Commentaries, and Responsa literature.

    JPHI 1903 Belief and Religious Commitment
    3 credits

    Role of philosophy and the liberal arts (particularly literature) within a religious intellec-tual worldview; medieval views of Jewish philosophers (Albo, Bahya, Saadiah); modern criticisms of medieval positions; reworkings of the relation between faith and reason in modern thought (Barth, Kierkegaard, Newman); Jewish critiques and defenses of secular studies in the modern world (Hirsch, Lamm, Lichtenstein, B. B. Liebowitz, Soloveitchik, Wasserman); literature and religious belief (Jewish and non-Jewish texts).

    JPHI 1905 Philosophy of Prayer
    3 credits

    Analysis of the philosophy of prayer and of the Jewish prayer book.

    JPHI 1907, 1908 Philosophy of Biblical Laws
    3 credits

    Examination of classical and modern sources for their conception of selected mitzvot relative to the Halakhah, their biblical origins, and their root meanings in Jewish philosophy. For intermediate and advanced students in Jewish studies.

    JPHI 1917; 1918 Topics in Jewish Philosophy
    3 credits

    Selected topics including faith and doubt, dogma, free will, Providence, the Holocaust, State of Israel. Guided research in addition to classroom meetings.

    JPHI 1921; 1922 Judaism and Culture
    3 credits

    Analysis of the concept of Torah im Derekh Eretz and comparison to other views on the relation of Torah and general culture. Sponsored by Jacques Schwalbe.

    JPHI 1923 Dogma in Jewish Thought
    3 credits

    Medieval and modern Jewish philosophical views of the concept of dogma.

    JPHI 1924 Dogma: The 13 Principles
    3 credits

    The articles of faith of Maimonides and other leading medieval Jewish thinkers.

    JPHI 4901, 4902 Independent Study
    See Academic Information and Policies section.

    JPHI 4931; 4932 Selected Topics
    3 credits

    Analytical study of special topics, issues, and movements in Jewish philosophy.

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