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The Nature of Freedom

In this course, we will study the evolving idea and experience of freedom. Try to define freedom. Do you land on words like choice, speech, or even obligation? Does your language emerge from the realm of politics or literature, psychology, or religion?

Studying texts chosen from the Torah, ancient philosophy, modern literature, and political history, we will read excerpts from Exodus, Thucydides, Frederick Douglass, and more. We will ask ourselves how this term has developed and begin to shape our own definitions of a concept that has great relevance for our moral and political lives.



Sample Readings:

  • Excerpts from Thucydides, “History of the Peloponnesian War” (Funeral Oration, Account of the Plague)
  • Excerpts from Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan
  • Writings about Exodus by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks
  • American political speeches by Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln

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