Jewish Philosophy and Theology

Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in interest in theological questions both in academia and in the public sphere. The debates between the “New Atheists” and their opponents, almost invariably Christians, have emphasized that theological discussion is not about to go away. But with few exceptions, Jews have stayed away from these debates, raising the question of whether Judaism has anything distinctive and significant to contribute to theological discourse.

Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks and Yoram Hazony Yoram Hazony discussion with UK Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Beginning in 2009, Institute scholars, working in collaboration with the John Templeton Foundation, have spearheaded a Project in Jewish Philosophical Theology whose aim is to reclaim the distinctive Jewish theological tradition that originates in the Hebrew Scriptures, Talmud and Midrash. This effort has brought together hundreds of scholars and students from around the world for four international conferences as well as workshops for students. A series of fellowships support work in Jewish Philosophical Theology both at the level of senior scholars and post-doctoral students.

Works in this area by Institute scholars include:

Joshua Berman, Ani Maamin: Biblical Criticism, Historical Truth, and the Thirteen Principles of Faith (Koren, 2020)

Yoram Hazony, God and Politics in Esther (Cambridge, 2016)

Yoram Hazony, The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture (Cambridge, 2012)

Shmuel Trigano, Philosophy of the Law: The Political in the Torah (Shalem, 2011).

Joshua Berman, The Temple: Its Significance and Meaning (Jason Aronson, 1997).

For more information, go to the Herzl Institute’s Jewish Philosophical Theology website, or subscribe to the Bible-Philos listserv.