Writings

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From 18-24 March, the APJ is pleased to host a symposium on the Conclusion (chapter 7) of David Benatar’s book Better to Never have Been (OUP 2006) in which he claims that his anti-natalist views are compatible with certain religious views, including some Jewish views. Commentators include Tyron Goldschmidt (Wake Forest) and Jeremy Wanderer (U....
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The APJ is pleased to present a correspondence between Professor Yehuda Gellman and Professor Tamar Ross. Some of the original text has been redacted by the authors, as indicated by ellipses. This is a work in progress – not to cited without permission!!! Email 1 From: moc.l1537666084iamg@1537666084namll1537666084egadu1537666084hey1537666084 [mailto:moc.l1537666084iamg@1537666084namll1537666084egadu1537666084hey1537666084] Sent: Friday, September 18, 2015 12:05 PM...
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Tyron Goldschmidt and I have finished a first rough draft of a somewhat crazy paper. It explores numerous Jewish sources that speak of God changing the past. We try to make sense of the metaphysics and the theology of the promise of a new past. We’d be grateful to hear any comments or suggestions that...
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We are pleased to have a guest post by Jeff Helmreich (UC-Irvine, Philosophy and Law). Jeff presents a fascinating puzzle that “afflicts all well-developed legal systems, but Halakha more than most”. The puzzle “is based on three principles, each of which – by itself – is widely accepted by many who follow or study Halakha,”...
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Here is a little internal discussion I’ve been having about Repentance and atemporalism, it ends with a question about a debate in the Talmud. I’d be eager to hear what people have to say. As a tangent to something I was writing recently, I had cause to think about the following: Most religious Jews seem...
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The paper that I recently posted about Negative Theology received hundreds of hits on academia.edu – I was surprised to see it generate that sort of interest. In actual fact, that paper grew out of my work on the Izhbitza Rebbe, Rabbi Mordechai Yosef Leiner, some of which I have discussed in blogs on this...
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I've just finished a draft of a paper on negative theology. In tangential ways, it was inspired by work I'm currently doing on the Izhbitza Rebbe. I'd really love to see if people have comments for me, so that I can improve it. Thanks in advance!
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One of the ideas of this blog was that scholars in the field should use it as a space to test-run new ideas and new work. So, I’m going to be brave and share a half-written, and incomplete draft of a paper I’m working on. Click here to read. Unpacking the seven metaphors at the...
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Rabbi Soloveitchik isolates a variety of types of repentance that emerge from the classical Jewish texts. In this paper, I reflect upon three of them, their inter-relationship and their philosophical significance – concentrating especially on the following question, in what sense are you able to become a new person? In one of the central Biblical...
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The Talmud debates whether there is such a thing as ‘breira’ or not. ‘Breira’ literally means clarification, but in the Talmudic debate that I’m talking about, it would better be translated as retroactive clarification…. or something like that. If a legal system allows for breira, then agents are allowed, in certain circumstances, to say, ‘x...
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The relationship between Judaism and philosophy has been the subject of discussion at least since Late Antiquity. Often, however, philosophy is reified as a distinct body of knowledge, the views of Epicurus and his followers, Aristotle’s corpus, or the very idea of the self-sufficiency of human reason, and viewed as either in conflict or agreement...
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I was recently asked to write an article of philosophical interest for a Jewish publication. The content is aimed at the lay-person, but perhaps people here will find it interesting. I’d be grateful, as ever, for your comments. As a modernorthodox Jew, I am keenly aware of the value and weight that we place uponsecular...
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I’m wondering if anyone can help me with these clarificatory questions that have arisen after reading Professor Stump’s thoroughly interesting article. 1) As Stump presents Saadia, he is of the opinion that those who are mostly righteous are punished in this world so that their remaining sins do not prevent them from enjoying eternal reward....
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In the recent past John Hick has produced a significant amount of material defending a particular kind of religious pluralism. Even if one disagrees with Hick’s version thereof, a religion’s theological flexibility to incorporate a just pluralism of one sort or another is seen to be a virtue of said religion. A theology that promotes...
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There is an argument known as the Kuzari Principle. It tries to justify belief in whole swathes of the Biblical narrative, especially in the revelation at Mount Sinai. In this blog post, I hope to show that the argument is much stronger than it might seem. The name of the argument is slightly unfair, as it was first put forward not in R. Yehuda Halevi's Kuzari, but in Saadya Gaon's Emunot Vadeot.
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