PHI4932 Seminar: The Epistemology of Judaism
The file is restricted.
Please click here to access if the item description shows YU only.
YU Faculty Directory
MetadataShow full item record
YC course syllabus / YU only
GOALS/OBJECTIVES: Throughout the Bible, there appear to be obligations to know of God’s existence; there are, in other words, epistemic commandments in the written law of Moses. For example (one of many), Deuteronomy 7:9: “Know, therefore, that the Lord thy God is God…” The Hebrew seems to be an imperative sentence, not a declarative. Knowing that the Lord your God is God—because He did certain things—obviously requires knowing that God exists. Some medieval Jewish philosophers locate this obligation first and foremost in the first of the Sinai commandments: “I am the Lord thy God.”¶ What is the nature of this command? Is it an obligation to seek evidence of the Divine through events, or through philosophical argument, or both? Moses often emphasizes the miracles of the Exodus as an epistemic foundation for knowledge and belief; but what does it mean to apply the obligations of knowledge of God, and of these miraculous events, to Jews of future generations who were not in Egypt? Does the obligation cease when sufficient evidence for faith is found, or is one obligated to engage every possible proof and argument that one can find?¶ Today, engaging the arguments for God, or for Judaism, requires engaging the assertions put forward by naturalism. Naturalism is easier to understand than to define, but it is essentially a worldview that states: “This is all there is. The world is material, and I am a material part of it, and that’s all that is going on. The mind is just some epiphenomenon of the workings of the brain. There is no afterlife, or Divine Being.” Should there be an obligation to know of God, then there must perforce be an obligation to reject naturalism. What is the philosophical foundation for this rejection? We will consider these questions as well, as we study the arguments put forward by David Hume, perhaps the most influential advocate of naturalism in philosophy.¶ This course is an innovative and interdisciplinary course joining philosophical logic, and Jewish theological texts, taught by two teachers who respectively specialize in one of these two fields. It will involve both logical excurses and argument, and careful readings of central texts in Medieval Jewish thought and modern philosophy. The goal is to settle the main issues pertaining to the epistemology of Judaism.
Soloveichik, M. & Johnson, D.A. (2022, Fall). PHI4932 Seminar: The Epistemology of Judaism. Yeshiva College, Yeshiva University.
*This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise.
The file is restricted. Please click here to access if the item description shows YU only.
The following license files are associated with this item: