Religious Studies | Rel Issues in Contemp Judaism
R345 | 10065 | Magid

Topic: Hasidism & Existentialism

This course will be comparative in nature. It will look at the
philosophical school of religious existentialism in the late 19th
and 20th century and the Hasidic movement in 18th and 19th century
Eastern Europe. We will explore the ways both movements share a non-
rationalist approach to the world and how each trend, within its own
ideological frame of reference and textual tradition, addressed the
new possibilities of acquiring knowledge. From the existentialist
side, will focus primarily on the writings of Soren Kierkegaard,
Blaise Pascal, Gabriel Marcel, and Martin Buber. Among Hasidic
masters, we will read from the collected teachings of the Baal Shem
Tov, R. Shneur Zalman of Laidy, R. Jacob Joseph of Polnoy, and R.
Nahman and Bratslav. We will also read from the writings of Martin
Buber and Abraham Joshua Heschel on Hasidism and explore the way
Hasidism serves as a source for their theological positions.
This course carries Culture Studies distribution credit.