What is Jewish Thought? There is a lot of talk about Jewish values… But what makes a value Jewish? Are those values different than human values? How does Jewish Philosophy differ from secular philosophy? Is the main focus of Jewish Philosophy the religion of the specific philosophers or is there something that sets Jewish Philosophy apart?
This seven week course will examine the development of Jewish Philosophy and its relationship to the central texts that form the corporate memory of the Jewish people. Beginning with the Hebrew Bible we will follow the progression of texts that have given shape and structure to the Jewish religion and culture. We will explore how these texts express philosophy, and how in turn, they have affected Jewish thinkers. Particularly, how does the relationship between philosopher and text change over time?
This course will be a historical overview of Jewish Philosophy, from Philo to Mendelsohn; looking at Philo, Saadia Gaon, Maimonides, Yehuda Ha Levi, Mysticism, Spinoza, and the end of traditional Judaism.
This course requires no previous knowledge of the Bible or Hebrew.
Daniel Frank ed. The Jewish Philosophy Reader
The way we assimilate and acquire information is to overlay what we learn over a certain structure and rubric. Is there such a thing as Jewish Philosophy, or is it a rubric that we have created? What is the dynamic between Jewish and secular philosophy?
Some of the different structures of organization that we will examine will be historic periodization and secular influence. Once the material and ideas are understood, we will remove them from the theoretical lattice to construct our own personal view of the world.
Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Sneiderman is the JCRC Director at the Greensboro Jewish Federation. Prior to his role at the Federation, Rabbi Sneiderman was the Dean of Jewish Studies at the American Hebrew Academy. Before coming to AHA, Rabbi Sneiderman was lecturer in Jewish Philosophy and Theology at the University of Delaware for 18 years. Rabbi Sneiderman also taught at Delaware Gratz Hebrew High School and the Delaware Valley JCC Adult Education program.
Rabbi Sneiderman graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in History, he has an MSW with a concentration in community organizing from Yeshiva University, and a Doctorate in Education from Gratz College.