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Edited by Hava Tirosh-Samuelson and Aaron W. Hughes

Jewish Philosophy for the Twenty-First Century encourages contemporary Jewish thinkers to reflect on the meaning of Judaism in the modern world by connecting these reflections to their own personal biographies. In so doing, it reveals the complexity of Jewish thought in the present moment. The contributors reflect on a range of political, social, ethical, and educational challenges that face Jews and Judaism today and chart a path for the future. The results showcase how Jewish philosophy encompasses the methodologies and concerns of other fields such as political theory, intellectual history, theology, religious studies, anthropology, education, comparative literature, and cultural studies. By presenting how Jewish thinkers address contemporary challenges of Jewish existence, the volume makes a valuable contribution to the humanities as a whole, especially at a time when the humanities are increasingly under duress for being irrelevant.

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Edited by Hava Tirosh-Samuelson and Aaron W. Hughes

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.

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Edited by Hava Tirosh-Samuelson and Aaron W. Hughes

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.

The Book of Conviviality in Exile (Kitāb al-īnās bi-ʾl-jalwa)

The Judaeo-Arabic Translation and Commentary of Saadia Gaon on the Book of Esther

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Michael G. Wechsler

This volume presents a critical edition of the Judaeo-Arabic translation and commentary on the book of Esther by Saadia Gaon (882–942). This edition, accompanied by an introduction and extensively annotated English translation, affords access to the first-known personalized, rationalistic Jewish commentary on this biblical book. Saadia innovatively organizes the biblical narrative—and his commentary thereon—according to seven “guidelines” that provide a practical blueprint by which Israel can live as an abased people under Gentile dominion. Saadia’s prodigious acumen and sense of communal solicitude find vivid expression throughout his commentary in his carefully-defined structural and linguistic analyses, his elucidative references to a broad range of contemporary socio-religious and vocational realia, his anti-Karaite polemics, and his attention to various issues, both psychological and practical, attending Jewish-Gentile conviviality in a 10th-century Islamicate milieu.

The Proselyte and the Prophet

Character Development in Targum Ruth

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Chr.M.M. Brady

The Proselyte and the Prophet: Character Development in Targum Ruth by Christian M. M. Brady is an exegetical study of Targum Ruth with a focus upon the transformation of the biblical characters into exemplars of rabbinic piety. Ruth becomes the ideal proselyte while Boaz is presented as a judge, a scholar of the Law, and a prophet. Brady demonstrates that the Targumist follows standard Targumic practice, rendering each Hebrew word of the biblical text into Aramaic, while making additions that further his agenda of presenting Ruth as a rabbinic model to be emulated.

In addition to the character analysis Brady provides a transcription of the manuscript Valmadonna 1, a new translation into English, and a verse-by-verse commentary of Targum Ruth.