Objectives of the course
This semester, we will focus on various conceptions of human nature and the significant role that
these conceptions assume in shaping theological and religious categories. Our study of this topic
will proceed by analyzing the writings of five significant religious thinkers: Maimonides, R.
Yehuda Halevi, R. Joseph Soloveitchik, R. Abraham Isaac Kook and Emmanuel Levinas. We
will engage fundamental questions, such as: what is unique about human existence? Is there an
ideal state or telos for human beings? How does Judaism enable us to achieve this ultimate state?
Finally, what is the role of intellect and emotion in enabling one to obtain human perfection?
Seminars will be discussion-based and close attention will be given to textual analysis with the
intention of fostering student’s analytical and critical thinking skills.
Schimmel, Ilan S. (2021, Spring), Syllabus, JPHI 4931 - FGW Topics: Human Nature & Jewish Thought, Stern College for Women, Yeshiva University.
*This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise.