Machiavelli is one of history’s most famous (or infamous) writers on morality. The Catholic Church banned his work, accusing him of undermining virtue itself. Philosophers have blamed him for the modern world’s declining sense of morality. To be called “Machiavellian” is rarely a compliment today. Yet others have long defended Machiavelli as a Renaissance man who sought to explain how the world really works. In this seminar, we will read some of Machiavelli’s writings, asking whether he was a moral monster, or whether his moral vision is actually closer to traditional Judaism than we usually think, and perhaps a corrective to some of the errors and illusions of the Middle Ages.
Earn a Tikvah Certificate
For students who want to take at least 3 courses this summer, you can become eligible for special additional opportunities—including essay prizes/scholarships, special sessions w/ Jewish leaders, and a Tikvah online certificate.Learn More
Meet the Instructors
Seminars are taught by Tikvah faculty and experts in the subject matter. Please note that course faculty are subject to change depending on availability.
Rabbi Mitchell Rocklin, Ph.D., is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education. His current research focuses on the history and practical implementation of classical education in a Jewish setting, and he is both writing a book on the subject and implementing a pilot program for the first integrated classical curriculum in a Jewish school in decades, which was recently featured by The Wall Street Journal. He is also writing a book on Judaism and the history of economic freedom. Prior to his current position, Rabbi Dr. Rocklin was a Resident Research Fellow at the Tikvah Fund and a synagogue rabbi in Connecticut. He is also a Chaplain in the Army National Guard with the rank of Major, as well as the President of the Jewish Coalition for Religious Liberty. He holds a B.A. in History and Political Science from Yeshiva University, rabbinical ordination from Yeshiva University’s affiliated theological seminary, and an M.Phil. and Ph.D. in History from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His writings have appeared in a number of publications, including The Los Angeles Times, National Review Online, The Forward, and Mosaic.
Benjamin Silver is a third-year J.D. candidate at Yale Law School and a Ph.D. student in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. Before graduate school and law school, he worked as an editor at National Affairs. Beginning in 2022, he will clerk for Judge Steven J. Menashi of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He is currently writing a dissertation on The Federalist, and his other writing has appeared in publications such as Mosaic, Commentary, First Things, and The Jewish Review of Books. He holds an A.B. and an A.M. from the University of Chicago.