What is Reason? Part 1 – Mark Gottlieb
In our cultural moment, society’s disregard of qualitative reasoning in favor of quantitative analysis–what spiritual master Rene Guenon dubbed “The Reign of Quantity”–has left a gaping hole in issues relating to morality, spirituality, and meaning. In this episode, Rabbi Gottlieb discusses questions such as: What is reason in the 21st century? Do the worlds of philosophical reasoning and empirical analysis speak different languages? Can these languages be meaningfully brought into conversation with one another? Where do they exhibit similarities and how do they differ? Rabbi Mark Gottlieb is Senior Director of the Tikvah Fund and Founding Dean of the Tikvah High School Programs at Yale University. He received his BA from Yeshiva College, rabbinical ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, and an MA in Philosophy from the University of Chicago, where his doctoral studies focused on the moral and political thought of Alasdair MacIntyre.
What is Reason? Part 2 – RJ Snell
In our cultural moment, society’s disregard of qualitative reasoning in favor of quantitative analysis–what spiritual master Rene Guenon dubbed “The Reign of Quantity”–has left a gaping hole in issues relating to morality, spirituality, and meaning. In this episode, Dr. Snell discusses questions such as: What is reason in the 21st century? Do the worlds of philosophical reasoning and empirical analysis speak different languages? Can these languages be meaningfully brought into conversation with one another? Where do they exhibit similarities and how do they differ?
Terror and Truth in Literature – Louis Petrich
Sophocles' Oedipus Rex is certainly one of the greatest tragedies ever written. It's a murder mystery whose solution turns into a search for the identity of the searcher himself. His pride of reason solves every riddle, but cannot save him from the blinding terror of knowing who he is and what he has done along the way (murder and incest) to become a knower and ruler. King Lear is Shakespeare's top of the mountain experience of tragedy. An old king and father administers a love test to his three daughters, to determine who loves him most, and to divide up the kingdom on that basis. He is not able to hear truth and love in the same word—why is that so hard?—and he makes a terrible mistake. To see the truth of the heart and to abide by the promptings of nature require, in this play, more blinding of eyes and suffering beyond human endurance. Both Sophocles and Shakespeare put in question the cost of knowing the truth about the things that matter most: love, family, wisdom, and rule. Therefore, they also must put in question the causes of things: freedom, fate, chance, and the gods.
Jewish and Greek Philosophy – Mitch Rocklin
Modernity is often thought of as characterized by a series of contradictions: freedom vs. order, religion vs. culture, morality vs. freedom, and tradition vs. progress. Many liberals and conservatives establish their political positions by placing emphasis on one category at the expense of another, and many Jewish and Christian scholars argue that a good life involves achieving the right balance or relationship between these categories. But are these concepts really contradictions? Or are they mutually dependent upon one another? And if they are mutually dependent, why do they seem to conflict so often? In this episode, Rabbi Mitch Rocklin examines the question of what it means to be religious and cultured in the West. He considers how Western Civilization created unique poetic and philosophical approaches to these concepts, as well as how their development created serious crises for religious and traditional individuals. How have great minds grappled with these crises, and how we might chart a new way forward by reexamining the origins of religion and culture and their relevance to our rapidly changing world?
Jewish “Chosenness” – Shuli Taubes
In this episode, Ari explores with Shuli Taubes the theological and social implications of the Jewish doctrine of election in the modern Western context. In her course, she explores the subject using a variety of lenses, including the propositions of divine free love (“Grace”), inherent superiority, Abraham’s initiative, and pluralism. Students study with her the writings of several modern Jewish theologians—including Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Michael Wyschogrod, Jon D. Levenson, and Jonathan Sacks—and the pre-modern sources that animate their thought as we consider the origins, development, and limits of Jewish “chosenness.”
Rabbi Gabi Weinberg
Director of High School Programs