Sam Lebens

Andrew Pessin has written a new book of bite-sized chapters relating to Jewish philosophical theology. His book, the Jewish God Question, explores what a diverse array of Jewish thinkers have said about the interrelated questions of God, the Book, the Jewish people,...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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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Since the foundation of this blog, I have slowly come round to the following questions. These questions are not posted here because I have something by way of an answer to them; something that I’d wish to share. I don’t...
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Having spent some time thinking about medieval approaches to the freewill problem – the apparent contradiction between God’s foreknowledge and our freedom – Rabbi Herzl Hefter introduced me to the work of the Chassidic Rebbe, R. Mordechai Yosef Leiner, otherwise...
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When we established this blog, I wrote to the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, Lord Sacks. He is surely one of the greatest living rabbis and one of the greatest living Jewish philosophers/thinkers/leaders, so, I...
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It strikes me that the solution proposed by Maimonides to the freewill problem has been wrongly equated with the solution put forward by Boethius. In what follows, I try to explain how the two proposals differ. I’d love to hear...
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Expired
October 23, 2022
8:00 am
The APJ will be holding a symposium on The Principles of Judaism (OUP, 2020) by Samuel Lebens on 23–27 October 2022. The symposium will be held on this page. For comments on Chapter 1 by Filippo Casati (Lehigh University), please click...
Talmudic Destiny
September 4, 2022
Call for Abstracts: The APJ plans to sponsor a session on the theme “Emotions and Jewish Philosophy” at the APA Central Division in Denver, CO, February 22-25, 2023. We invite abstracts of 750-1,000 words on any topic related to emotions and Jewish...