Abraham Lincoln was one of the greatest statesmen in American history, and his speeches and spirit have since defined the soul of our nation. How did a man with no religious training or church membership give such profoundly religious interpretations of American history? How did he make sense of American democracy amid a bloody and terrible Civil War, when everyone from theologians to ordinary churchgoers struggled to understand the meaning of their lives and America’s destiny? In this seminar course, we will explore Abraham Lincoln’s understanding of religion, America, and the meaning of our history, through his speeches, letters, and other sources. Strikingly original in their time, and still relevant today, we will examine Lincoln’s ideas about God and their sources in the Hebrew Bible and elsewhere.
Dr. Harry Ballan
The Tikvah Fund
Dr. Harry Ballan is Senior Director of the Tikvah Fund and Dean of the Tikvah Online Academy. He is also the academic director of several new educational initiatives, including Tikvah’s classical education efforts. Harry holds a BA, MA, MPhil, and PhD from Yale University and a JD from Columbia Law School. He clerked for Chief Judge Wilfred Feinberg of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and was for many years a Partner at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, a leading international law firm where he is currently Senior Counsel. He has taught at several leading universities on subjects ranging from law and intellectual history to neuroscience, and was Dean of Touro Law School before joining Tikvah.
Meet the Instructor
Tikvah aims to make all of our courses available to as many qualified students as possible. In the event that Tikvah needs to add additional sections, this course may be taught by a different faculty member with a similarly high level of expertise.