Historical Jesus research, Jewish or Christian, is marked by the search for origins and authenticity. The various Quests for the Historical Jesus contributed to a crisis of identity within Western Christianity. The result was a move “back to the Jewish roots!”
For Jewish scholars it was a means to position Jewry within a dominantly Christian culture. As a consequence, Jews now feel more at ease to relate to Jesus as a Jew.
For Walter Homolka the Christian challenge now is to formulate a new Christology: between a Christian exclusivism that denies the universality of God, and a pluralism that endangers the specificity of the Christian understanding of God and the uniqueness of religious traditions, including that of Christianity.
David Shatz is the Ronald P. Stanton University Professor of Philosophy, Ethics, and Religious Thought at Yeshiva University. With rabbinic ordination earned at Yeshiva University and a Ph.D. with distinction in philosophy from Columbia University, Shatz is committed to integrating Judaism and secular wisdom. An analytic philosopher as well as a Jewish philosopher, he has written extensively on free will, ethics, epistemology, medieval and modern Jewish philosophy, and philosophy of religion. His writings cover such topics as autonomy, altruism, philosophical skepticism, science and Judaism, peer review, theodicy, biblical interpretation, Maimonides, modern rabbinic figures, messianism, fanaticism, religious diversity, and theology. Shatz is also editor of the
MeOtzar HoRav series, which publishes manuscripts of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, and is editor of the
Torah u-Madda Journal.
Menachem Fisch is the Joseph and Ceil Mazer Professor of History and Philosophy of Science, Director of the Center for Religious and Interreligious Studies, and former Chair of the Graduate School of Philosophy at Tel Aviv University. He is also the Senior Fellow of the Kogod Center for the Renewal of Jewish Thought at the Shalom Hartman Institute, Jerusalem. Trained in physics, philosophy, and the history and philosophy of science, Fisch has confronted epistemological questions and applied his answers to Jewish philosophy, integrating it into the larger discourse of rationality, normativity, religion, politics, and science. His work brings a creative combination of historical, philosophical, and critical insights to an analysis of Talmudic texts, thereby establishing a new and original understanding of rabbinic legal reasoning and religious commitment.
Arthur Green is Rector of the post-denominational Rabbinical School and Irving Brudnick Professor of Jewish Philosophy and Religion at Hebrew College in Newton, Massachusetts. Originally ordained as a Conservative rabbi, Green considers himself a neo-Hasidic Jew, identifying with none of the established Jewish denominations. He combines historical knowledge of the Jewish mystical tradition with an original constructive theology. Recognized as both a rabbi and a scholar, Green has sought to make spiritual pursuit an essential part of committed Jewish life. Through scholarship, educational work, and popular teaching, he has contributed to the growth and vitality of Judaism in America and helped promote neo-Hasidism as Jewish spirituality for the 21st century.
Norbert M. Samuelson is Harold and Jean Grossman Chair of Jewish Studies and Professor of Religious Studies at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Trained as an analytic philosopher, he went on to establish the Academy of Jewish Philosophy in 1980, which contributed greatly to the professionalization of Jewish philosophy in America. An ordained Reform rabbi, a constructive theologian, and a public intellectual, Samuelson has insisted that philosophy is the very heart of Judaism and that in order to survive in the 21st century Judaism must rethink itself in light of contemporary science. Through his scholarship and organizational work he has brought a Jewish voice to the dialogue of religion and science. Viewing Jewish philosophy as central to the understanding of the Jewish past, Samuelson has explicated the philosophical dimension of Judaism, from the Bible to the present.
Warsaw was once home to the largest and most diverse Jewish community in the world. It was a center of rich varieties of Orthodox Judaism, Jewish Socialism, Diaspora Nationalism, Zionism, and Polonization. This volume is the first to reflect on the entire history of the Warsaw Jewish community, from its inception in the late 18th century to its emergence as a Jewish metropolis within a few generations, to its destruction during the German occupation and tentative re-emergence in the postwar period. The highly original contributions collected here investigate Warsaw Jewry’s religious and cultural life, press and publications, political life, and relations with the surrounding Polish society. This monumental volume is dedicated to Professor Antony Polonsky, chief historian of the new Warsaw Museum for the History of Polish Jews, on the occasion of his 75th birthday.
Avi Sagi is Professor of Philosophy at Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel, and Senior Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, Israel. A philosopher, literary critic, scholar of cultural studies, historian and philosopher of halakhah, public intellectual, social critic, and educator, Sagi has written most lucidly on the challenges that face humanity, Judaism, and Israeli society today. As an intertextual thinker, Sagi integrates numerous strands within contemporary philosophy, while critically engaging Jewish and non-Jewish philosophers. Offering an insightful defense of pluralism and multiculturalism, his numerous writings integrate philosophy, religion, theology, jurisprudence, psychology, art, literature, and politics, charting a new path for Jewish thought in the twenty-first century.
David R. Blumenthal is Jay and Leslie Cohen Professor of Judaic Studies at Emory University. He has contributed greatly to the growth of Jewish Studies, the place of Judaism in Religious Studies, interreligious dialogue, and the reframing of Judaism in light of the Holocaust, postmodernism, and poststructuralism. For Blumenthal, theology is an ongoing reflection about everything we believe and do in the context of the living tradition.
Moshe Idel, the Max Cooper Professor Emeritus at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Senior Researcher at the Shalom Hartman Institute, is a world-renowned scholar of the Jewish mystical tradition. His historical and phenomenological studies of rabbinic, philosophic, kabbalistic, and Hasidic texts have transformed modern understanding of Jewish intellectual history and highlighted the close relationship between magic, mysticism, and liturgy. A recipient of two of the most prestigious awards in Israel, the Israel Prize for Jewish Thought (1999) and the Emmet Prize for Jewish Thought (2002), Idel’s numerous studies have uncovered persistent patterns of Jewish religious thought that challenge conventional interpretations of Jewish monotheism, while offering a pluralistic understanding of Judaism. His explorations of the mythical, theurgical, mystical, and messianic dimensions of Judaism have been attentive to history, sociology, and anthropology, while rejecting a naïve historicist approach to Judaism.
Lenn E. Goodman is Professor of Philosophy and Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Trained in medieval Arabic and Hebrew philosophy and intellectual history, his prolific scholarship has covered the entire history of philosophy from antiquity to the present with a focus on medieval Jewish philosophy. A synthetic philosopher, Goodman has drawn on Jewish religious sources (e.g., Bible, Midrash, Mishnah, and Talmud) as well as philosophic sources (Jewish, Muslim, and Christian), in an attempt to construct his own distinctive theory about the natural basis of morality and justice. Taking his cue from medieval Jewish philosophers such as Maimonides, Goodman offers a new theoretical framework for Jewish communal life that is attentive to contemporary philosophy and science.