Modernity creates a host of intellectual and moral challenges for religious believers. Does the doctrine of reward in heaven mean that religious people are just as mercenary and self-absorbed as everyone else? Can we still justify objective morality and assert that some actions are right or wrong? Are all great books, religious or secular, full of ‘myths’ that can be easily or cynically debunked?
This seminar will address four topics:
- Religion: Why are people religious? Is the motivation of heavenly reward a selfish proposition?
- Morality: Is there such a thing as objective morality? If so, how can we justify such an assertion?
- Friendship: What is the basis and significance of friendship? How does it differ from other relationships?
- How Do We Find Meaning in Literature? Are all readings subjective and equally valid? Do great works promote moral and religious growth?
Readings for the course will be based on the writings of C. S. Lewis (1898-1963). While best-known for his adolescent fantasy series, The Chronicles of Narnia, Lewis was likely the most successful popular defender of religion in the twentieth century, writing accessible yet sophisticated writings on prayer, evil ethics, humanity, and faith.
Rabbi Yitzchak Blau
Rabbi Yitzchak Blau is Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshivat Orayta and also teaches at Midreshet Lindenbaum. An associate editor of the journal Tradition, he is the author of Fresh Fruit and Vintage Wine: The Ethics and Wisdom of the Aggada. Rabbi Blau has published more than thirty articles in various areas of Jewish studies. He lives in Alon Shevut with his wife and four children.
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.