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The Hebraic Spirit of America

Why do we refer to the United States as a “republic”? How do republics differ from empires? What are the connotations of “nation” and “nation state,” and in what sense is the United States each of these? Why did the United States Constitution limit aristocracy? How do “republican principles” circumscribe the American presidency? Finally, what do these questions have to do with the Hebrew Bible and its influence on the United States? Join a discussion in which we explore the formative influence of “the Hebrew republic” on America. Together, we will study this notion of a Hebrew republic, its ideals and its conception of the human person, as well as related biblical views on the nature of social, political, and economic life, political leadership, and government—both of self and society. In our investigation, we will read sources from the books of Deuteronomy, Samuel, the Midrash, and the Talmud, from the mixed and balanced structure set forth in the Constitution and described in The Federalist Papers to the speeches of Abraham Lincoln.

This course is generously supported by the David Fleischer Forum on American Civilization