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Abraham Joshua Heschel: Human Dignity as a Divine Concern

Dr. Dror Bondi / October 15, 2020

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As Western humans we believe in humanism, but can Jewish tradition contribute something to our understanding of human dignity? There are many Jewish sources on this issue, but can a Jewish perspective on this issue be said to exist? Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972) believed that we can develop such an approach. In his view, Jewish philosophy is best deployed not to help the modern Jew to live in the West but to inspire Western civilization with the Jewish perspective on human dignity. This course introduces the philosophy of A. J. Heschel about human dignity as a divine concern. It will include his interpretation of tzelem Elokim as well as his views on racism, religious pluralism, and other issues which reflect his approach to human dignity.

  1. Introduction: Heschel's Biography as the Source of his Thought
  2. Close Reading of Heschel's speech on Human Dignity and Racism
  3. Close Reading of Heschel's speech on Human Dignity and Interfaith Dialogue
  4. The Prophets: Human Dignity as Divine Concern
  5. Heavenly Torah: Ztelem Elohin in Rabbi Akiva Thought
  6. Summary: Heschel's Alternative to the Western Thought


Session 1 - 10/15/2020


Session 2 - 10/22/2020


Session 3 - 10/29/2020


Session 4 - 11/05/2020


Session 5 - 11/12/2020


Session 6 - 11/19/2020



Posted: 10/15/2020

Posted: 10/22/2020

Posted: 10/29/2020

Posted: 11/05/2020

Posted: 11/12/2020

Posted: 11/19/2020

Source Sheets

  Source Sheet, Session1 Posted: 10/15/2020
  Source Sheet, Session 2 Posted: 10/22/2020
  Source Sheet, Session 3 Posted: 10/29/2020
  Source Sheet, Session 4 Posted: 11/05/2020
  Source Sheet, Session 5 Posted: 11/12/2020
  Source Sheet, Session 6 Posted: 11/19/2020

Dr. Dror Bondi

Dror Bondi is dedicated to bringing Abraham Joshua Heschel's thought to Israel, translating his words into Hebrew and transforming Israel by his spirit. Dror has a doctorate in Jewish Thought from Bar-Ilan University and his dissertation, Heschel's Hermeniutics, will be published next year. Dror has translated several of Heschel's books into Hebrew. He is the author of Where Art Thou? which won the Shalem Prize in 2006. He lives with his family in Jerusalem in Beit Yisrael, an urban-kibbutz community of religious and non-religious Jews who unite together in social and spiritual activism.


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