The Professorship in Ancient and Medieval Jewish Religion and Philosophy is deeply concerned with the conjunction “and”: the synthesis of religion and philosophy, i.e. Jewish religious philosophy as described in the canonical texts of Isaac Husik (1916), Julius Guttmann (1933), Georges Vajda (1947), Colette Sirat (1983), and Heinrich and Marie Simon (1984). The curriculum spans two thousand years from Philo of Alexandria in the ancient world to Saadia Gaon and Maimonides in the Middle Ages to Moses Mendelssohn at the dawn of Jewish modernity. This timespan encompasses three classic syntheses of Jewish religious philosophy:
Although Jewish religious philosophy speaks Greek in Alexandria, Arabic in Baghdad or Córdoba, and German in Berlin, it always refers back to the Hebrew and Arabic sources of Judaism and, symbolically, to the city of Jerusalem. For example, when Moses Mendelssohn first argued that Judaism does not constitute a state within a state, ushering in the age of emancipation, he did so in a volume titled Jerusalem. This discipline examines the tensions between philosophy and religion, exile and home, or, to return to urban symbolism, Athens and Jerusalem. Over the course of their studies, students in Jewish Theology should receive an overview of these three epochs of Jewish religious philosophy and become well-versed in at least one classic work of Jewish religious philosophy.
We place particular emphases in Jewish theology:
Because this discipline necessarily covers an enormous timespan and broad-ranging sources and languages, the lecturer and assistants under this professorship always offer supplementary classes to fill the gaps.
Campus Am Neuen Palais / House 2, Room 2.01
Office hours: By appointment