What is Jewish Philosophical Theology?

What kinds of ideas were the authors of the Hebrew Scriptures, Talmud and Midrash concerned to advance to their readers? Certainly, these texts have been put to various uses in the history of ideas. But are there ideas that actually originate with the Hebrew Bible and other classical Jewish texts, so that we can speak of the “ideas of the Bible” in the same way we can speak of “Plato’s ideas” or “Nietzsche’s thought”? And if there are biblical ideas, are any of them of genuine philosophical significance, addressing themselves to important questions in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, or political philosophy?

In the last generation, there has been a gradual but steady movement in a number of academic disciplines in the direction of thinking that the classical Jewish sources can in fact be read for their philosophical teachings. The “Jewish Philosophical Theology” project aims to bolster this trend by placing resources of different kinds at the disposal of scholars and students from different backgrounds interested in working on the philosophical investigation of the classical Jewish sources.

“Jewish Philosophical Theology” is a project of the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Shalem Center and is directed by the Institute’s president, Shalem Center co-founder Yoram Hazony.

The “Jewish Philosophical Theology” project is part of a larger program in Analytic Theology initiated by the John Templeton Foundation in 2010. In the context of this project, Shalem’s work is aimed at developing a Jewish contribution to the emerging field of philosophical theology, while our partners in this endeavor, the University of Notre Dame in Indiana and the University of Innsbruck in Austria, represent Christian components of the project.

This website is intended to serve as clearinghouse providing information about new developments in this area. It includes a more detailed overview of the project, a bibliography of potentially useful literature, announcements of conferences and fellowships on the subject, and a sign-up page where you can subscribe to receive calls for papers and other announcements about new developments in the field.

We look forward to hearing your feedback and suggestions.

Yoram Hazony
Director, Jewish Philosophical Theology Project
President, Institute for Advanced Studies at the Shalem Center