THE DEPARTMENT OF

PHILOSOPHY & JEWISH THOUGHT

A timeless and timely preparation for citizenship in a modern Jewish state.

Throughout history, the Jewish people have stood at the crossroads between two remarkable intellectual traditions. The Department of Philosophy and Jewish Thought integrates the study of the great ideas of both the Jewish and Western civilizations to show how each has enriched the other. It also encourages a nuanced examination of modern Israeli and Jewish identities, and of the mutual—and fertile—tension between them.

Living an Examined Life

By emphasizing the essential role of well-developed and defended ideas in society’s progress, students learn how movements begin with arguments, and how arguments now considered obvious were once seen as radical in nature. In turn, this knowledge empowers them to imagine—and advance—a better society.

Taking Philosophy to the Streets—and the Stalls

For Shalem professor of philosophy Yuval Dolev, thinking through ideas like free will and determinism isn’t only an exercise for the classroom. Rather, he sees philosophical conundrums all around us—even, if not especially, in the stalls of Jerusalem’s famed shuk.

Featured Courses

Whether through the study of analytical philosophy, epistemology, or the philosophy of Jewish law, the Department of Philosophy and Jewish Thought cultivates self-critical students, as willing to examine their own opinions as to listen to those of others.

Morality and Ethics

Key doctrines from Aristotle to Emmanuel Kant, with an emphasis on those positions that deny moral relativity.

Jewish Political Thought

The theological and legal foundations of Jewish political theory, and their theoretical and historical sources of influence.

The Philosophy of Science

An analysis of the complex and ever-changing relationship between science and human culture, society, and history.

Modern Jewish Thought

How Spinoza, Mendelsohn, Rosenzweig, and Levinas dealt with the challenge of history, modernity, and Western philosophy.

Analytical Philosophy

An exploration of what we know, how we know it, and whether we can truly know anything—and why we can live with that.

Maimonides' Guide to the Perplexed

A close reading of the work that, more than any other, influenced Jewish thought from the Middle Ages to the present day.

The Zohar

The unique language, concepts, and mythologies of the most important Jewish mystical work of the Middle Ages.

Kant and Hegel

The key works of the German philosophers whose ideas are linked to the revolutionary politics of the Enlightenment.

News & Stories

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