Writings

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Discuss
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...
Religious Pluralism
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...
Sukkot
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.
Rosh Hashana
Rosh Hashana is a day to contemplate the need for great Jewish Ideas. A day to think big. To get out of our compartmentalized boxes. Hayom Harat Olam: Today the world is born. On Rosh Hashana the world should be newly created. This is specifically important for the future of Judaism.
Sacrifices
Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo Does Judaism really need animal sacrifices? Would it not be better off without them? After all, does the sacrificial cult not compromise Judaism? What does a highly ethical religion have to do with the collecting...
Questions
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...
Jewish School
I’m marrying someone in a couple weeks. A lot of drama has arisen over his not being “Jewish” which made me wonder how the property of “being Jewish” works. First, the word “Jewish” can mean lots of different things. Here...
Simhat Torah
In our discussions of Eli Hirsch’s paper, this week, Aaron Segal raised the following criticism of Hirsch’s general approach to the Talmud. Segal said:   ‘We might wonder whether Hirsch’s assumption [that the disputants in the Talmud were making claims...
Jewish Identity
  There is certainly much of interest in this excellent article both for philosophers and for Talmudists (and even more for those who are both).  I want to focus on just one issue, which is briefly addressed at several points...
Jewish Identity
I have read Professor Hirsch’s paper with much interest and enjoyment. I think that his article provides a benchmark for good scholarship in the philosophy of Judaism. I have a few questions on the paper, all of which are clarificatory....
Western Wall of Temple
After a discussion I had with my brother about the nature of Torah study (is it merely an intellectual exercise or something more?) I started wondering about the following issue after he quoted a relevant point related to Tisha be’Av,...
Columns
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...
Jewish Identity
by Ben Elton Leopold Zunz (1794-1886) famously remarked that the Jewish Middle Ages did not come to an end until the French Revolution. He was making the important point that a state or religion does not become modern simply because...
Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks
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...
Old Jewish School
So if one reads the philosophical literature on God’s relationship to time (e.g. Leftow, Swinburne, Plantinga, Hasker, Wierenga), one encounters the following phenomenon: those arguing for God’s being outside of time will draw on certain biblical verses in support of...
Six Pillars of Jewish Wisdom
What on earth is the philosophy of Judaism? There are six elements. Each has roots in the Pentateuch. It is part of the mystery of Jewish identity that these principles produce techniques that are fecund and unembarrassing in the hands of avowed secularists.
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...