Philosophy Rabbinic Literature
10 Sessions

I Can't Believe It: What God, Prophecy, and Free Will Meant in the Past - and What They Can Mean To Us

Organization: Yale University

Jews and Christians often say, "Christianity is about beliefs, but Judaism is about actions." It turns out that that's not true – as either a description of the Jewish tradition or in terms of our lived experience of being Jewish in the world: what we believe matters, and it always has.

This class will study a series of related theological and existential question. Are we commanded to believe in God? What if we just can't believe? Does it matter more what we know about God and Judaism, or how we feel towards God and Judaism? The course will examine these questions through the debate between the two greatest medieval Jewish philosophers: Maimonides and his critic, R. Hasdai Kreskas.

We will take up these questions as both intellectual and spiritual concerns, seeking to both understand the ideas of others and to clarify and deepen our own understanding of the world in which we live.

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