In the modern West, our political discussions, universities, and even our churches, fail to address something that Dr. Yoram Hazony thinks is at the heart of the Hebrew Scriptures: philosophy. Whether because of the overwhelming influence of Aristotle on the Western tradition or the devaluing of Jewish thought by 19th-century German scholarship, many of us look at the Bible as nothing more than an ancient book of stories with a few scattered moral lessons. Even in 21st-century America, unpleasant features of the Biblical texts (for example, violence) can eclipse much of the value of the Biblical texts.

In this episode, Dr. Dru Johnson discusses reading the Bible as philosophy with Dr. Yoram Hazony. Dr. Hazony discusses his time studying political philosophy in graduate school and how he noticed a conspicuous lack of attention to the Biblical texts, and how that led him to begin looking at the Hebrew Scriptures as a fundamental source of values, practices, and principles that underly Western Civilization. From there, Dr. Johnson and Dr. Hazony talk about reintroducing churches and universities to the philosophy of the Bible and how it would benefit our civilization.

Yoram Hazony is President of the Herzl Institute in Jerusalem, and currently serves as Chairman of the Edmund Burke Foundation, a new public affairs institute based in Washington that will be hosting the first National Conservatism Conference in July 2019.

Shownotes:

  • 1:37 How Dr. Hazony began studying the philosophy of the Bible, beginning with critiquing the tradition of Western political philosophy
  • 7:17 Two ways people in modern universities look at the Bible
  • 11:40 How to help academia and culture more broadly to see the Bible as a source of philosophy
  • 16:27 Why we shouldn’t limit ourselves to the Aristotelean genre of philosophical writing
  • 19:45 Why Western academia has failed to address the tradition of Biblical philosophy
  • 22:19 How many of our most important values derive from the Hebrew Scriptures

Further Reading:

Yoram Hazony, The Political Philosophy of Jeremiah: Theory, Elaboration, and Applications

Yoram Hazony, The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture


Credits for the music used in the CHT Podcast can be found at: hebraicthought.org/credits/.