Berman, Haivry, Unterman Author Pathbreaking 2017 Herzl Institute Books

In recent months, Herzl Institute scholars have published a series of books that will forever change how we look at the thought of the Bible and the way it has shaped the ideas of the Western world and beyond. Among the mind-shaping new books the Institute is fielding in 2017:

Ofir HaivryJohn Selden and the Western Political Tradition (Cambridge) explores the Jewish foundations of the Anglo-American constitutional tradition as understood by John Selden, the greatest of 17th-century England’s conservative political thinkers. This is the first book to examine Selden’s political theory, showing how he used the Jewish people and the rabbinic tradition as the model for England and its common law.

Joshua BermanInconsistency in the Torah: The Limits of Source Criticism(Oxford) mounts to the most systematic critique of academic theories of biblical authorship in a generation in this breathtaking work. If you thought source criticism had won the scientific debate, it is time to rethink.

Jeremiah UntermanJustice for All: How the Bible Revolutionized Ethics (Jewish Publication Society). A sweeping reconstruction of how the Hebrew Bible broke with the ethical theories of the ancient Near East to establish the basis for morality as we know it.

Taken together, these three works offer a thorough reconsideration of the place of Judaism in the history of Western civilization. Congratulations to all on a truly remarkable achievement, many years in the making!

Hazony at “Inaugural Conference on Jews and Conservatism”

Herzl Institute President Yoram Hazony lead a session at the “Inaugural Conference on Jews and Conservatism” sponsored by the Jewish Leadership Conference in New York on December 3, 2017. Other speakers included Elliott AbramsCharles KrauthammerYuval LevinDennis Prager, and Amb. Ron DermerSee program details and registration here.

Eis in Jewish Action: Are We Praying to the Wrong God?

Herzl Institute Educational Director R. Rafi Eis has published a moving essay on the problem of teaching young Jews about God in the Fall 2017 issue of Jewish Action. In “Praying to the Wrong God? An Old-New Approach to Tefillah Education,” Eis argues that medieval concepts may be holding religious youth back from approach God. This essay is a response to the Herzl Institute’s workshop on “Teaching Tanach as a Source of Theology and Philosophy,” which took place on August 1-4, 2016, and which Eis organized as convener. The workshop was conducted with the support of the John Templeton Foundation. Read R. Eis’ essay in Jewish Actiohere.

Hazony Gives Tribute to 2017 Templeton Laurette Alvin Plantinga

In honor of Philosopher Alvin Plantinga being awarded the Sir John Templeton Prize in 2017, Herzl Institute President Yoram Hazony addressed the convocation with a speech entitled “A Great Captain in the Armies of God.” The tribute can be read here:

Hazony CUFI Address Marks Jerusalem Unification 50th Anniversary

This summer was the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem. Herzl Institute President Yoram Hazony appeared on a platform together with Pastor John Hagee in honor of this occasion in front of an audience of five thousand at the annual Christians United for Israel (CUFI) summit in Washington, D.C. You can see them both here: Hagee and Hazony 50th anniversary video. (Dr. Hazony’s speech begins at 49:00. Introduction by David Brog about their college days together at Princeton begins at 44:45.)

Herzl Conference Explores: What Was ‘The Revelation at Sinai’?

The concept of torah from heaven plays a central role in Jewish theology. But what precisely does it mean to say that the Jewish torah or teaching is from heaven? From June 18-22, 2017, ninety scholars and advanced students gathered at the Herzl Institute’s conference to discuss “The Revelation at Sinai: What Does ‘Torah From Heaven’ Mean?” Speakers included: R. Shalom Carmy (Yeshiva University), James Diamond (University of Waterloo), Lenn E. Goodman (Vanderbilt University), R. Gil Student (Independent Scholar), Shira Weiss (The Frisch School), William J. Abraham (Southern Methodist University), and Jonathan Burnside (University of Bristol).

For two weeks around the conference, Jewish and Christian students and young PhD’s came from as far as Brazil, Korea, and China to attend the Herzl Institute’s Young Scholars Workshop, and hear lectures from senior scholars at the conference. A book based on papers from the conference is in preparation.

The conference and workshop are part of the Jewish Philosophical Theology project at the Herzl Institute, which is sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation. More details on the conference are available here: Revelation at Sinai conference website.

A Reset for US Middle East Policy

Former Education Minister Gidon Saar and Herzl Institute Vice President Ofir Haivry outline a proposal for a reset of stagnant US Middle East policy in the Jerusalem Post. Read the article here.

R. Gil Student: “Is the Bible the Future of Politics?”

On December 18-22, Yoram Hazony, David Brog and Mark Tooley hosted a conference for Christians and Jews to discuss the future of conservatism in the wake of the Brexit vote in Britain and Donald Trump’s election in the US. The conference was co-sponsored by the Institute for Religion and Democracy and the Herzl Institute and held in Glen Cove, New York. On Friday, Rabbi Gil Student published his reflections on the conference in the Jewish Press in an essay entitled “Is the Bible the Future of Politics?”

You can read R. Student’s essay here:

Accepting Applications for Summer Workshop in Bible and Philosophy

The Jewish Philosophical Theology project at the Herzl Institute invites applications from graduate students and recent PhDs for a Bible and Philosophy Workshop in Jerusalem on June 12-22, 2017. Workshop directors Yoram Hazony and Joshua Weinstein, together with other Institute scholars and invited speakers, will lead a study of such questions as:

  • The Bible as Philosophy?
  • The Metaphysics of Hebrew Scripture
  • Is the Biblical God Perfect Being?
  • What Does it Mean for God to Speak?
  • Bible as a Tradition of Inquiry
  • Approaching God Through Metaphor
  • God’s Plans, Failures and Alliances
  • Should God Be Our King?
  • Discovering a Name of God
  • Who Makes Things Happen in the Bible?

Participants will also take part in the sixth international conference in the “Philosophical Investigation of the Hebrew Scriptures, Talmud and Midrash.” The conference topic for this year is “The Revelation at Sinai: What Does ‘Torah from Heaven’ Mean?” Click here for more information about the Conference.

Workshop dates: June 12-22, 2017.
Click here for more information about the Workshop.

Accepting Paper Proposals for a Conference on the topic “The Revelation at Sinai: What Does ‘Torah from Heaven’ Mean?”

The Jewish Philosophical Theology Project at the Herzl Institute, with the support of the John Templeton Foundation, will hold its sixth annual conference in Philosophy of the Bible, Talmud and Midrash in Jerusalem on June 18-22, 2017. The conference will address the topic The Revelation at Sinai: What Does ‘Torah from Heaven’ Mean?

Conference Directors:

Yoram Hazony (The Herzl Institute)
Dru Johnson (The King’s College)
Joshua Weinstein (The Herzl Institute)

Invited speakers include:

William J. Abraham (Southern Methodist University)
R. Joshua Amaru (Yeshivat Eretz Hazvi)
Shawn Zelig Aster (Bar-Ilan University)
Jonathan Burnside (University of Bristol)
R. Shalom Carmy (Yeshiva University)
James Diamond (University of Waterloo)
Lenn E. Goodman (Vanderbilt University)
Steven Kepnes (Colgate University)
R. Gil Student (Independent Scholar)

The conference invites papers and active participation by Jews, Christians, and individuals of other backgrounds.

For more information, see the conference announcement.