Shalem College

The study of philosophy, both Western and Jewish, develops abilities applicable to any subject matter, and essential to life and leadership in a Jewish state.

It does this by teaching students to be self-critical, and by encouraging self-correction. Philosophy challenges its practitioners to examine their own opinions as well as to respect those of others. Finally, it empowers them to recognize and resist the false claims of demagoguery.

Philosophy and Jewish Thought at Shalem further emphasizes the essential role of the well-developed and well-defended idea in society’s progress. Students learn how movements begin with arguments, and how the arguments now considered obvious were once viewed as radical in nature. This knowledge may grant them the courage to imagine—and argue for—a different and more just society.

Asa Kasher, Israel-Prize laureate, co-author of the IDF Code of Ethics, and Shalem professor of philosophy

“At Shalem, I show students how theory and practice can be closely related, and how philosophy plays a role in practical deliberations, whether personal or public.”

Asa Kasher, Israel-Prize laureate, co-author of the IDF Code of Ethics, and Shalem professor of philosophy
Books Close up

By learning the seminal texts of the Jewish tradition alongside those of the West, our students realize that, for instance, the Ramban exists on the same vector that begins with Plato and Aristotle. They come to understand that Judaism was always enriched by the world around it, and can thrive in all its singularity today, even as it continues to incorporate elements of the wider world of which it is a part.

—Menachem Kellner, Chair, Department of Philosophy and Jewish Thought

COURSES

The Biblical Narrative

Topics in Analytic Philosophy

Epistemology and Metaphysics

Neoplatonic Philosophy from the Ancient World to the Middle Ages

Platonic Dialogues

Topics in Rabbinic Literature and Thought: Interpretation and Meaning

Introduction to Kabbalah

Morality and Ethics

Readings in the Guide for the Perplexed

Competing Theories of Justice

Kant and Hegel

Philosophy of History

Readings in the Zohar

The Hassidic Movement and Its Mitnagdic Opposition

The Legacy of Plato and Aristotle in the Hellenistic World

Political Thought in the Jewish Tradition

Continental Philosophy

Philosophy of Religion

Political Philosophy

Modern Jewish Thought

The Many Voices of Judaism

Hermeneutics

The Philosophy of Halacha