Monthly Archives: February 2015

CFP: The Question of God’s Perfection conference

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What are the sources of the claim that God is “perfect being”? What philosophical purposes have been served by making this claim, and are they still relevant? Does the view of God as perfect being express the theological standpoint of the Jewish Bible? Of the Talmud and Midrash? If not, can it be modified so as to reflect genuine biblical or classical rabbinic views? Or do the Bible and Talmud just offer a very different view of God’s nature? If the latter, is a philosophically coherent account of this alternative biblical or rabbinic theology possible? Do later developments in philosophy, theology and science—whether Jewish, Christian, or other—provide resources for recognizing a distinctive Hebrew Bible or classical rabbinic view of God’s nature? Do such views have any advantages or disadvantages over “perfect being” theology as contributions to a compelling contemporary account of God and his relationship to the world? The conference invites papers and active participation by Jews, Christians, and individuals of other backgrounds.

Go to the full conference description and call for papers HERE.

Proposal deadline: March 15, 2015

Graduate students and recent PhDs should also consider applying to the Bible and Philosophy Young Scholars Workshop to be conducted by the Herzl Institute during the week prior to the conference. Workshop participants will be eligible to apply for student funding to offset costs of travel and accommodations. For more information about the workshop, follow this link:

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Speaking at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

sebtsDru Johnson will be speaking to the doctoral students at SEBTS about Bible and Philosophy on March 3, 2015. It is an open lecture, so come along if you’re in the area!


Promise and Prospects for the Philosophical Study of Scripture

In the last decade, interest in the philosophical content of Scripture has grown from a trickle to a steady stream. While biblical scholars have been making local arguments—epistemology in wisdom literature or metaphysics in the Pentateuch, for instance—there have been few systematic treatments of philosophical topics from the perspective of the Hebrew Scriptures that also can engage contemporary philosophy.

Indeed, some doubt that there is any such thing as a native philosophical stance to parts or the whole of the Hebrew Scriptures. Recently, Yoram Hazony has argued for a reappraisal of the relationship between philosophy and Hebrew Bible (The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture, Cambridge University Press, 2012). Jaco Gericke’s The Hebrew Bible and Philosophy of Religion (SBL Publications, 2012) made an expansive case based on the history, possibility, and methodological considerations of philosophical criticism in biblical studies. This year, the

Society of Biblical Literature approved a new program unit titled, “Hebrew Bible and Philosophy,” chaired by Jaco Gericke and myself. Moreover, books by biblical scholars studied in philosophy, and vice versa, continue to appear periodically in academic presses. Nonetheless, broad ranging scholarly engagement on the topic is just now taking off.

I will put forward a case for why we should study the Bible philosophically, present some examples of this type of study, assess the methodological difficulties involved, and discuss some future avenues for the field.

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