Leonard Levin


Dr. Leonard Levin

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, Jewish Theological Seminary of America

B.A., University of Pennsylvania,
Ph.D., Brandeis University,
Ph.D., The Jewish Theological Seminary,

Leonard Levin is assistant professor of Jewish Philosophy at The Jewish Theological Seminary.

Dr. Levin’s scholarly interests are focused on constructive theology and Jewish intellectual history of all periods. His first dissertation, Deriving a Theological Position From Mind-Body Interactionism (Brandeis, 1973), affirmed the reality of a spiritual dimension of the personal self and of the cosmos. This was the basis for his current book nearing completion: The Case for God—Affirmation Without Illusion: Answering Today’s Atheists. His articles on constructive theology have also appeared in the journal Conservative Judaism: “Affirming God as Creator” (Winter, 2002) and “To Break or Mend a World: Thoughts on Theodicy After the Tsunami” (Summer, 2005).

Dr. Levin’s second dissertation, Seeing With Both Eyes: The Intellectual Formation of Ephraim Luntshitz reconstructed the interest in philosophy as expressed in the treatises, sermons, and commentaries of leading sixteenth-century Jewish thinkers. This was the basis for his forthcoming book: Seeing With Both Eyes: Ephraim Luntshitz and the Polish-Jewish Renaissance. Dr. Levin has also collaborated with David Walker on the article “Isaac Israeli” in the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Dr. Levin has an interest in making standard Hebrew works of Jewish intellectual history available in English. He assisted Gordon Tucker in the translation and editing of Abraham Joshua Heschel’s Hebrew masterpiece work on rabbinic theology: Heavenly Torah as Refracted Through the Generations. Dr. Levin has also translated several works of the contemporary Israeli philosopher and scholar Eliezer Schweid (see below). Dr. Levin is currently at work in translating Schweid’s five-volume work The History of Modern Jewish Religious Philosophy.

Dr. Levin is also interested in encouraging and training young translators of Judaica. His translation of Volume I of Isaac Heinemann’s Reasons for the Commandments was prepared with the collaboration of six JTS rabbinical students in a regular class. He is interested in facilitating the production and publication of additional translations of important works of Judaica from Hebrew and German.

Dr. Levin’s teaching in Jewish philosophy integrates the concerns of intellectual history and constructive theology. In his view, we study the thinkers of the past for the light they shed on eternal problems of human thought and existence, as well as for the assistance they can offer by their example in our confronting the challenges of integrating traditional wisdom with current knowledge in our own time. His courses in Philo, Jewish Platonism, Maimonides, sixteenth-century Jewish thought, modern Jewish thought, and problems in the philosophy of religion all focus on this common perennial task.

Dr. Levin received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania (cum laude), a PhD in History of Ideas from Brandeis University, and rabbinical ordination and a PhD in Jewish Philosophy from The Jewish Theological Seminary.



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