Jaco Gericke, North-West University (South Africa)
Our first session will consist of invited papers responding to the Jaco Gericke’s central idea found in The Hebrew Bible and Philosophy of Religion: Philosophical criticism as a form of biblical criticism. Those invited speakers include:
9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Room: Inman (Atlanta Conference Level) – Hyatt
Theme: Philosophical Criticism as a Form of Biblical Criticism
Jaco Gericke, North-West University (South Africa)
Analytic vs. continental varieties of philosophical criticism (30 min)
Mark Sneed, Lubbock Christian University
A Response to Jaco Gericke’s Thesis in The Hebrew Bible and Philosophy of Religion (30 min)
Oliver Crisp, Fuller Theological Seminary
An Analytic Theologian’s Response to Jaco Gericke’s Thesis (30 min)
Craig Bartholomew, Redeemer University College
A Biblical Theologian’s Response to Philosophical Criticism (30 min)
Discussion (30 min)
Our second session will consist of papers that responded to the RFP: Those speakers include:
Dru Johnson, The King’s College (New York) and Allen Jones, Corban University
Response: Methodological Considerations in Pursuing Bible and Philosophy (30 min)
Discussion (30 min)
“I would like to see philosophical interpretation flourish, as its concern to make a difference to the life of people in the world of today is important. Nonetheless, if the philosophical categories commended by Sekine for thinking about God are to be meaningful, they surely need to be tested via engagement with recent work in the philosophy of religion, not least the recent reappropriation of conceptualities from Aquinas and other medieval philosophical theologians by scholars such as David Burrell, Fergus Kerr, Herbert McCabe, and Denys Turner. A thoroughly worked-out account of how such work might constructively relate to biblical interpretation in a contemporary context would be a major undertaking, but without further work toward this, philosophical interpretation may still be some way short of being able to establish itself as a significant contemporary option.”
Dru Johnson’s twin review of Sekine’s and Gericke’s books will appear in the forthcoming issue of the Journal of Analytic Theology.
Jaco Gericke has made his paper from our SBL session available for download (San Diego, 2015). Here is the abstract and a teaser:
This article provides an introductory overview of a selection of philosophical perspectives on theological why-questions in the Hebrew Bible. Why-questions put to Yhwh in all the various sections of the canon are clarified philosophically via ancient views on causation, the Principle of Sufficient Reason, and the philosophy of language. Comparative philosophy of religion is also utilized to argue that while most theological why-questions in the Hebrew Bible are asked in the context of suffering, assumptions related to the deity differ from those of modern philosophical theologies.
From the conclusion:
“Mostly the questions themselves dissolve amidst divine silence, leaving the audience only with a dead-end analogous to that found in the following mystical inversion of the why-did-the-chicken-cross-the-road joke:
The crossing is within.
There is no other side.”
From herzlinstitute.org (a pretty impressive list!):
The Herzl Institute in Jerusalem is pleased to announce twelve fellowships in Jewish Philosophical Theology for the years 2015-2017. The fellowships are awarded with the assistance of generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation:
1. James Arcadi (University of Bristol) — “Consecration, Divine Presence, and the Metaphysics of Holiness in the Hebrew Scriptures”
2. Joshua Amaru (Bar-Ilan University) — “Halachic Virtue and Wisdom”
3. Craig Bartholomew (Redeemer University College) — “The God Who Acts in History”
4. James Diamond (University of Waterloo) — “Constructing a Jewish Philosophical Theology: A Prolegomenon”
5. Melis Erdur (Tel Aviv University) — “Torah From (But Not In) Heaven: A Philosophical Examination of the Limits of Human Contribution to Revelation”
6. Lenn Goodman (Vanderbilt University) — “The Holy One of Israel”
7. Berel Dov Lerner (Western Galilee College) — “Could Moses’ Hands Make War? Divine and Human Agency in the Hebrew Scriptures”
8. Alan Mittleman (Jewish Theological Seminary) — “The Holy and the Good: An Essay in Jewish Philosophical Theology”
9. Alex Sztuden (Independent Scholar) — “Beyond the Euthyphro Dilemma: God’s Will, Nature and the Moral Law”
10. Shmuel Trigano (University of Paris X) — “The Angel’s Ascent”
11. Shira Weiss (Yeshiva University) — “Reevaluating Theological Concepts in the Bible”
12. Jacob Wright (Emory University) — “Knowledge of God as a Central Teaching of the Hebrew Scriptures”
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: http://www.bibleandphilosophy.org/workshops/ys2015.
Dru 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.