The department of Jewish Thought focuses upon classical works of Jewish thought throughout the ages, and their intersection with wider currents in general philosophy. The goal of study within the department is to provide students with a broad foundation in the history of Jewish thought, as well as more profound knowledge in one or two areas of concentration from among the following:
- Jewish thought during the Second Temple period (Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, Qumran literature, ancient mysticism, and rabbinic literature).
- Jewish medieval and Renaissance philosophy from Saadya Gaon until Spinoza.
- Kabbalah from the medieval period until the Renaissance (Safed Kabbalah).
- Modern Jewish thought (Jewish philosophy, Kabbalah and mysticism, the Mussar movement, and Orthodox Jewish thought).
The method of study combines philological-textual skills and philosophical-analytical concepts, alongside a comparative and historical framework. In the first-degree program, students will take mandatory courses, including introductory courses and a couple of text-based courses (‘Guide for the Perplexed,’ ‘Zohar’), several mandatory and elective tutorials that focus upon Jewish thought throughout the ages, and a few elective courses from the four areas of concentration described above. The program enables students that intend on continuing to advanced research to gain the knowledge and training that are necessary for this purpose. For students who intend on teaching at high-schools, the program offers the knowledge base and the analytical methods that are necessary to teach Jewish thought in such an educational environment.
Within the department there are also tracks for those studying for advanced degrees (a masters and a doctorate), wherein students focus upon one of the four areas of concentration described above.
Graduates of the department can continue their studies in the following ways:
- Continuing to study for an advanced degree at Hebrew University or other leading universities.
- Researching in universities or research centers.
- Continuing to study for a teacher’s certificate, and to teach in a high school.