Introduction to philosophical thinking in a Jewish idiom through selected writings by Philo, Saadia Gaon, Yehudah HaLevi, the RaMbaM, and Spinoza. Discussion of their work on its own terms, and its relevance to Jewish Renewal and spiritual development.
The course begins with the questions raised by a close reading of Reb Zalman’s writings on “deep ecumenism.” We study comparatively the spiritualities / mysticisms of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism utilizing insights from Ken Wilber's writings to help our comparisons. Each student partakes in an ecumenical experience and reports to the class.
Modern Jewish thought began with Spinoza (The first secular Jew) to Nachman Krochmal (according to Reb Zalman the first Jewish Renewalist) to the mysticism of the early Martin Buber, and to Franz Rosenzweig—arguably the most influential Jewish Philosopher of the 20th century. We will examine the roots of our contemporary Jewish thought. Rabbinic Pastor students may choose this course OR Jewish Feminist Thought.
This course is an engaged study of the development of Jewish mysticism, its symbolic universe, meditation practices, and social ramifications. While we will survey Jewish mystical traditions from the early Rabbinic period through the modern, the heart of the course is that many-branched (post)-medieval stream known as kabbalah.
This course examines Hasidic approaches to the major ideas and pathways of Judaism. We will explore the central themes in Hasidism through studying selected texts authored by great Hasidic masters from the 18th century to the present. This journey will lead to an in-depth understanding of the unique Hasidic approaches to Jewish values and practices and an appreciation of Hasidism’s profound theological and psychological insights.