Philosophical Investigation of the Hebrew Scriptures, Talmud and Midrash

The 2017 conference, “Philosophical Investigation of the Hebrew Scriptures, Talmud and Midrash”, which will take place on June 18-22, 2017, will investigate the topic, The Revelation at Sinai: What Does “Torah From Heaven” Mean? This conference will seek to elucidate the traditional Jewish theology of torah from heaven in response to recent challenges including criticism of the classical view of torah from heaven from Jewish scholars and academics, who have proposed the adoption of a rival theology of torah from heaven,  in which God gave his teaching to Israel through the work of large numbers of anonymous scribes over many generations in what has been called an “unfolding” revelation. Speakers will include William Abraham, R. Joshua Amaru, Shawn Zelig Aster, Jonathan Burnside, R. Shalom Carmy, James Diamond, Lenn E. Goodman, Yoram Hazony, Steven Kepnes, and R. Gil Student.

Deadline for submissions is December 31, 2016.

To visit the conference website and to register click here.


The 2016 colloquium, the second of two meetings for the 2015-2017 Templeton Fellows at the Herzl Institute took place at the Mt. Zion Hotel in Jerusalem on December 27-29, 2016. This colloquium afforded the Fellows the opportunity to present the final stages of their projects as they approach the completion of their research and fellowships.  For a list of the Fellows and their project topics click here.


Joshua Amaru (Yeshivat Eretz Hazvi), “Halachic Virtue and Wisdom”
James Arcadi (University of Bristol), “Belonging to the Lord: Consecration, Divine Presence, and the Metaphysics of Holiness in the Hebrew Scriptures”
Craig Bartholomew (Redeemer University College), “The God Who Acts in History”
James Diamond (University of Waterloo), “Constructing a Jewish Philosophical Theology: A Prolegomenon”
Melis Erdur (Tel-Aviv University), “Torah From (but not in) Heaven”
Lenn Goodman (Vanderbilt University), “The Holy One of Israel”
Yoram Hazony (Herzl Institute), “What does ‘Torah from Heaven’ Mean?”
Berel Dov Lerner (Western Galilee College), “Could Moses’ Hands Make War? Divine and Human Agency in the Hebrew Scriptures”
Alan Mittleman (Jewish Theological Seminary), “Holiness and Violence in Judaism”
Alex Sztuden (Independent Scholar), “Beyond the Euthyphro Dilemma: God’s Will, Nature and the Moral Law”
Shmuel Trigano (Nanterre University), “The Angel’s Descent”
Shira Weiss (Yeshiva University), “Reevaluating Theological Concepts in the Bible”
Jacob Wright (Emory University), “The Knowledge of God as a Central Teaching of Hebrew Scriptures”


The 2015 colloquium, the first of two for the 2015 – 2017 Templeton Fellows at the Herzl Institute, took place at the Mt. Zion Hotel in Jerusalem on December 28 – 30, 2015. At the colloquium the fellows presented the projects supported by their fellowships.  A detailed schedule is available here.
For a list of the Fellows and their project topics click here.

The 2015 conference, “Philosophical Investigation of the Hebrew Scriptures, Talmud and Midrash,” which took place on December 20-23, 2015, explored The Question of God’s Perfection. The conference investigated the question of  whether understanding God as perfect being is appropriate as a basis for Jewish theology and for religious belief more generally, bringing together perspectives on this question from philosophers, theologians, scholars of Bible and scholars of rabbinic literature.
To visit the conference website click here.

The 2013 conference, “Philosophical Investigation of the Hebrew Scriptures, Talmud and Midrash,” which took place on July 21-25, 2013, explored Human Action: Justice, Righteousness, Love and Awe. The conference sought to bring to light the nature and significance of normativity and action in Jewish theology by clarifying the meaning of Jewish theological categories having to do with human evaluation and action, and by fitting them into an overall Jewish account of human life and flourishing.  Invited speakers included Lenn Goodman, Alan Mittleman, Kenneth Seeskin, and Roslyn Weiss. For the 2013 conference website, click here.

The 2012 conference, “Philosophical Investigation of the Hebrew Scriptures, Talmud and Midrash” which took place on July 22-26, 2012, sought to develop aspects of a Jewish theological epistemology. The conference addressed itself to refining our understanding of how the traditional Jewish modes of exploring man’s relationship with God in the world, by means of prophecy, narrative and law, can be clarified by looking at the ways in which these different modes function and what they can and cannot contribute to our understanding of God and man. Invited speakers were Michael Fishbane, Yoram Hazony, Eleonore Stump, and Shmuel Trigano. For the 2012 conference website, click here.

The 2011 conference, “Philosophical Investigation of the Hebrew Scriptures, Talmud and Midrash,” which took place on June 26-30, 2011, explored metaphysics and God’s nature, and addressed questions of what human beings can know about the fundamental nature of reality. Subjects for discussion included the nature of reality and being, and the relationship of this reality with truth and with goodness. Particular attention paid to the question of what can be known about God, including questions of whether God can in fact be considered to be in some sense a being, his attributes, and his relationship to the world. Invited speakers were Lenn Goodman, Jacob Howland, Joseph Isaac Lifshitz, and Alan Mittleman. For the 2011 conference schedule, click here.

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