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What Is Free Will? What Is Free Will?
Monday, March 18, 2013 by Simon Gordon | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

For millennia, philosophers have attempted to prove or disprove the existence of free will.  Ludwig Wittgenstein saw this as a misguided exercise—which obscures a genuine moral issue.
Who Says There Are No Coincidences? Who Says There Are No Coincidences?
Wednesday, March 6, 2013 by David Glasner | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In certain Orthodox circles, the idea that there are no coincidences has become a principle of faith.  But it contradicts a more fundamental Jewish doctrine: human free will.
Judaism and the Meaning of Life Judaism and the Meaning of Life
Friday, March 1, 2013 by Emil Fackenheim | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Emil Fackenheim is often remembered only for his Holocaust theology.  This 1965 Commentary essay reminds us of his understanding of the covenantal relationship between God and man.
Is Judah Halevi’s <i>Kuzari</i> Racist? Is Judah Halevi’s Kuzari Racist?
Wednesday, February 13, 2013 by Ari Ackerman | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

A recent attempt to redeem the Kuzari from the charge of ethnocentrism raises the question as to whether Jewish texts should be reinterpreted to accord with modern sensibilities.
Leibowitz at 110 Leibowitz at 110
Monday, February 11, 2013 by Jeffrey Saks | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

A scientist, a philosopher, and a sharp-tongued public intellectual, Yeshayahu Leibowitz was an oracle for some, a crank to others.  Two decades since his death, his ideas remain influential on Israeli society.
Clothes Make the Man Clothes Make the Man
Friday, December 7, 2012 by Chaim Saiman | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The recent daf yomi Shabbat 63 appears to present just the technicalities of what can and cannot be transported on Shabbat.  Yet it is simultaneously an exploration of war, peace, and the nature of manhood.
Adorno, Butler, and the Death of Irony Adorno, Butler, and the Death of Irony
Friday, September 28, 2012 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Irony cannot exist in isolation; something is ironic only in relation to a larger pattern of events or behavior. Every three years, the city of Frankfurt awards its Adorno Prize to honor scholarly achievement in philosophy, music, film, and theater.
The Hebrew Bible and the Human Mind The Hebrew Bible and the Human Mind
Monday, September 10, 2012 by Diana Muir Appelbaum | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Yoram Hazony has a bone to pick with Tertullian, the second-century Christian theologian who asked, “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?”
Spinoza in Shtreimels Spinoza in Shtreimels
Tuesday, September 4, 2012 by Carlos Fraenkel | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Philosophy professor Carlos Fraenkel wrote that “the cultural relativism that often underlies Western multicultural agendas [is] a much greater obstacle to a culture of debate than religion.”  Today, in an exclusive preview from the Jewish Review of Books, Fraenkel relates how his theory fared among a group of Hasidim.
Human Rights and Religious Wrongs Human Rights and Religious Wrongs
Friday, January 13, 2012 by Jonathan Neumann | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Although the discourse on human rights has a long pedigree, traceable at least to early modern natural rights theory and politics, the philosophical case for human rights against one alternative, religion, has yet to be made.
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Editors' Picks
The Ancient Library of Alexandria J. Harold Ellens, Bible Review. "The scholarly culture of the ancient library became the seedbed of the great philosophies of Judaism and Christianity and thus has continued to influence Western culture for two millennia."
Plato and the Haggadah Nathan Lopes Cardozo, Cardozo Academy. In the Phaedrus, Plato bemoans the inadequacy of the written word.  So too, on Seder night, it is not sufficient for us to read the Haggadah—we must hear it.
Judaism without Theology Levi Brackman, YNet. “The lack of a theology, beyond a generic belief in one God, is, to me, part of the beauty of biblical and talmudic Judaism.”
Hitler's Philosophers Richard J. Evans, Times Higher Education. The idea that German philosophers were to blame for the rise of Nazism has long been discredited.  A new attempt to revive the theory fails to convince.
Remembering David Hartman Gil Troy, Jerusalem Post. Rabbi David Hartman, who died in Jerusalem this week at 81, leaves a legacy of theological works and educational institutions that will continue to shape Judaism and Zionism for modern Israel.
Beyond the Pursuit of Happiness Emily Esfahani Smith, Atlantic. Psychiatrist Victor Frankl, a concentration camp survivor, wrote that "if there is meaning in life at all, then there must be meaning in suffering."
Exit, Voice, and Loyalty Robert Kuttner, American Prospect. Refugee scholar and political economist Albert Hirschman, who died this week, taught that consumers must do more than vote with their feet if they want a civil society.
Why Darwinist Materialism is Wrong Alvin Plantinga, New Republic. Philosopher Thomas Nagel rejects the naturalistic conception of the world as "a heroic triumph of ideological theory over common sense."  But he still stops short of believing in God. 
Is God Happy? Leszek Kołakowski, New York Review of Books. Probably not. 
Category Error Jon D. Levenson, Jewish Review of Books. The focus of Yoram Hazony's History of Israel, and of most of the Hebrew Bible, is not on "discover[ing] the true and the good in accordance with man's natural abilities," as he thinks . . .