Introduction to Modern Jewish Thought (Part II) - Who Is a Jew and What Is Judaism
This introductory course in Modern Jewish Thought will focus on two main questions: The first question, "Who is a Jew?" will be examined in light of developments in the modern secular world and the place of religion after the French Revolution and the development of nationalism and historical philosophy. The discussion will relate to the ideas of Moses Mendelssohn, Nachman Krochmal, Heinrich (Zvi) Graetz, Moses Hess and the early Zionist thinkers.
The second question, "What is Judaism?", initially raised in the Theological-Political Treatise of Baruch Spinoza, will be examined in light of writings by Moses Mendelssohn, Samson Raphael Hirsch, Ahad Ha'am, Hermann Cohen, Franz Rosenzweig, Martin Buber, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Mordecai Kaplan, Emmanuel Levinas and others.
The course will culminate with a discussion of modern directions in Jewish thought: The teleology of the State of Israel, the future of Jewish life in the Diaspora, the concept of Judaism as culture, Jewish feminism and the desire for renewal in Jewish life.
Part II of the introductory course in Modern Jewish Thought during the second semester will be devoted to the question "Who Is a Jew" and survey thinkers who dealt with the question "What Is Judaism", during the 20th century including Jewish thought after the holocaust, and contemporary issues.
Core bibliography: Julius Gutman, The Philosophy of Judaism; Nathan Rotenstreich, Jewish Thought in the Modern Age; Isaiah Berlin, Against the Current; Eliezer Schweid, Judaism and Secular Culture, Towards a Modern Jewish Culture, Judaism and Secular Culture, and History of the Philosophy of Jewish Religion, Volumes A-D.