This book argues that all truths systems include paradoxes. Paradoxes, such as found in the sciences, philosophy and religion offer themselves as mutually shared partners in a dialogue of arguably incommensurable truths on the basis of their underlying truth. Paradoxes leap beyond the epistemic border of individual truth claims. A dialogue of truths, grounded in paradox, reaches before, and at the same time past singular truths. A paradox-based dialogue of truths elevates the communication of disciplines, such as the sciences and religion, to a meta-discourse level from which differences are not perceived as obstacles for dialogue but as complementary aspects of a deeper and fuller truth in which all truths are grounded.
Universal Science (
ʿIlm-i kullī) by
Mahdī Ḥāʾirī Yazdī, is a concise, but authoritative, outline of the fundamental discussions in Islamic metaphysics. For many years used as a textbook in Iran, this short text offers English readers a readily accessible, lucid, and yet deeply learned, guide through the Sadrian, Avicennan, and Illuminationist schools of thought, whilst also demonstrating how the ‘living tradition’ of Shīʿī philosophy engages with central ontological, epistemological, aetiological, and psychological questions. Discussions include the primacy of existence; the proper classifications of quiddity; and the manifold properties of causality and causal explanation. This is the first of the various influential works authored by this leading Shīʿah intellectual to have been translated into English from the original Persian.
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.
Judith Plaskow, Professor of Religious Studies Emerita at Manhattan College in New York, is a leading Jewish feminist theologian. She has forged a revolutionary vision of Judaism as an egalitarian religion and has argued for the inclusion of sexually marginalized groups in society in general and in Jewish society in particular. Rooted in the experience of women, her feminist Jewish theology reflects the impact of several philosophical strands, including hermeneutics, dialogical philosophy, critical theory, and process philosophy. Most active in the American Academy of Religion, she has shaped the academic discourse on women in religion while critiquing Christian feminism for lingering forms of anti-Judaism.
Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff, the Sol and Anne Dorff Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Rector of American Jewish University in Los Angeles, is one of today’s leading Jewish ethicists. Writing extensively on the intersection of law, morality, science, religion, and medicine, Dorff offers an authoritative and non-Orthodox interpretation of Jewish law. As a leader in the Rabbinical Assembly’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, he has shaped the religious practices of Conservative Jews. In serving on national advisory committees and task forces, he has helped to articulate a distinctive Jewish voice on contested bioethical and biomedical issues. An analytic philosopher by training, Dorff has endorsed pluralism, arguing that Jewishness best flourishes in the context of American pluralism, and he has worked closely with non-Jews to advance religious pluralism in America.
Eugene B. Borowitz is Sigmund L. Falk Distinguished Professor of Education and Jewish Religious Thought at Hebrew Union College in New York. A rabbi, teacher of rabbis, and a theologian, Borowitz has been an important spokesperson for non-Orthodox forms of Judaism, Reform Judaism in particular. Over seven decades, Borowitz has explored the centrality of God in Jewish existence, the normative force of Jewish law, the meaning of the Covenant, the distinctiveness of Jewish life, and the meaning of Jewish personhood for non-Orthodox Jews. Adopting the language of religious existentialism, he has reflected on the relational nature of human existence, on the one hand, and human self-determination on the other.
Rethinking God and Ethics presents influential essays by Borowitz and explains his contribution to Jewish religious thought in the 20th century.
This volume features the thought and writings of Rabbi David Novak, the J. Richard and Dorothy Shiff Chair of Jewish Studies, Professor of the Study of Religion, and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto. Novak is a leading Jewish theologian, ethicist, and scholar of Jewish philosophy and law.
Natural Law and Revealed Torah presents the work of Novak, a thinker interested in the intersection of traditional Judaism and the modern world, especially how religious Jews can simultaneously exist within the liberal and democratic nation state yet remain separate from its tradition of secularism.