MA in Jewish Philosophy Bar-Ilan University
The Department of Jewish Philosophy (Jewish Thought and Kabbalah) in Bar-Ilan University’s Faculty of Jewish Studies is devoted to the research and teaching of all fields of Jewish philosophy from the classical period until the writing of Jewish philosophy in our days, including the study of Kabbalah and Hasidism. Special emphasis is put on the study and research of philosophical thinking, mystical contemplation, and interreligious relations.
If you are interested in such fields as Jewish tradition, philosophy, and Jewish history, the Department of Jewish Philosophy invites you to participate in a fascinating, thought-provoking MA in Jewish Philosophy, which takes you into the comprehensive exploration of the world of Jewish philosophy and all its aspects while examining different approaches, discourses, and methods from a broad cultural perspective. Read this article to find out more about the program.
This two-year MA program will be taught entirely in English by leading experts in the field of Jewish philosophy.
The study of Jewish thought introduces you to the greatest Jewish thinkers, like Maimonides, also known as Rambam, Rabbi Yehuda Halevi, Rabbi Kook, and Chabad Lubavitch’s Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.
Courses at the Department of Jewish Philosophy offer an in-depth exploration of the works and teachings of these important figures, as well as a review of their impact on Jewish and general philosophy. The curriculum covers a wide range of disciplines and periods, from the Middle Ages to modern times.
We offer a cultivating learning environment, research seminars, departmental seminars, and think tanks for doctoral students.
Leading Scholars in Jewish Philosophy
Our faculty members in the Department of Jewish Philosophy are some of the world’s leading experts and philosophers, including some of the most renowned researchers of Jewish ways of thinking. They are all highly experienced in thesis and doctoral instruction and are at your service for your graduate and postgraduate paths.
They include Prof. Hanoch Ben Pazi (left), chair of BIU’s Department of Jewish Philosophy in the Faculty of Jewish Studies, who will be running the MA program, Prof. Ephraim Meir, Prof. Tamar Ross, Prof. Steven Harvey, Dr. Miriam Feldmann Kaye, Dr. Yehuda Halper, Prof. Avi Elqayam, Dr. Leore Sack Shmuely, Prof. George Yaacov Kohler, Prof. Dov Schwartz, and Prof. Daniel Abrams.
Why Study Jewish Philosophy?
Gaining knowledge of the great Jewish thinkers, past and present, expands our horizons connects us to our cultural roots, and helps us better understand the intellectual significance of the subject matter.
Our winning blend of secular and religious customs and norms means the Department of Jewish Philosophy at BIU is one of only a few departments at an educational institution in Israel that joins religious and secular, Jewish and non-Jewish, male and female students, allowing them to study together in an environment of tolerance, mutual respect, and acceptance.
We are happy to welcome all types of students including:
- Jewish teachers from Jewish communities around the world;
- Jews who would like to deepen their Jewish knowledge; and
Students of philosophy (no matter their religion), who would like to learn about modern and contemporary Jewish philosophy (especially Buber, Levinas, and Derrida).
Most of the graduates of the Department of Jewish Philosophy at Bar-Ilan University end up in prominent positions in the board of education, the media, the legal system, the philosophic research arena, and other fields.
Requirements for Studies
During your studies in the field of Jewish philosophy, there are two possible tracks from which to choose:
- Track A – with thesis
- Track B – without thesis
Requirements for Track A
- A total of 16 hours of coursework divided into: four hours into two MA seminars (including the writing of seminar papers), 12 hours in six MA seminars or lectures.
- Languages: basic knowledge of one foreign language in addition to English.
- Obligatory participation in the department’s colloquium and regular meetings with the thesis adviser.
- Writing of the thesis.
- Final examination based on the subject of the thesis and related literature.
Requirements for Track B
- A total of 22 hours of coursework divided into: six hours into three MA seminars (including the writing of seminar papers), 14 hours in seven MA seminars or lectures, two hours that could be taken in another department (after consultation with the head of the department).
- Obligatory participation in the department’s colloquium.
- Final exam according to the courses taken.
Sample Course List
- Maimonides and Maimonideanism.
- Jewish Philosophers in their Islamic and Christian Contexts.
- Science, God, and the Meaning of Life in Medieval Jewish Thought.
- The Beginning of Modern Jewish Thought: Moses Mendelssohn and the Discovery of Judaism as a World Religion.
- Ethical Monotheism: The Religious Thought of Hermann Cohen, its Roots, and its Consequences.
- Jewish Existentialism: The 20th Century Turn from Idea to Life – Buber, Rosenzweig, and Levinas.
- Introduction to Early Hasidism: History and Theology.
- Introduction to Kabbalah (The Book of Zohar and Jewish Mysticism).