Professor of Judaic Studies and History
Ph.D., 1988, Brandeis University
Office: FA 347
Phone: (607) 777-2926
My research is divided between investigations of Jewish responses to modern thought and studies of modern thinkers' assessments of the Jews and Judaism. I am particularly interested in the attempts of modern Jewish rationalists to explain their continued adherence to Judaism. Recently I have been focusing more on Israeli and American Jewish intellectuals' conceptions of the tension between liberalism and Zionism. My courses focus primarily on modern Jewish history and thought.
Recent or current undergraduate courses:
- Medieval Jewish History
- Rebirth of Israel
- Synagogue and State
- Modern Jewish Thought
- Perspectives on Jewish Thought and Mysticism, Essays in Memory of Alexander Altmann, co-edited with Alfred Ivry and Elliot Wolfson, Harwood Press, 1998.
- Moses Mendelssohn and the Enlightenment, SUNY Press, 1994.
- Gershom Scholem's Origins of the Kabbalah, Princeton University Press, 1987.
- Jacob Katz's The Darker Side of Genius: The Antisemitism of Richard Wagner, University Press of New England, 1986.
- Moses Mendelssohn's Jerusalem, University Press of New England, 1983.
- “Jewish Renewal,” in Jewish Polity and American Civil Society: Communal Agencies and Religious Movements in the American Public Square, edited by Alan Mittelman, Robert Licht and Jonathan Sarna, Rowman and Littlefield, 2002.
- “Rethinking Zion and Modernity” in Jewish Social Studies, vol. 9.1, Fall 2002.
- “Gentiles and the World to Come,” in The Jewish Political Tradition, vol. 2, edited by Michael Walzer, Menachem Lorberbaum, and Noam J. Zohar, ed., Yale University Press, 2003.
- “Solomon Maimon and his Jewish Philosophical Predecessors” in Renewing the Past, Reconfiguring Jewish Cutlure: From al-Andalus to the Haskalah, ed. Ross Brann and Adam Sutcliffe, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004.
- “Conservative Political Theology and the Freedom of Religion: The Recent Work of Robert Kraynak and David Novak,” in Polity, vol. 37, no. 1, January 2005.
- "The Jewish State and its Internal Enemies: Yoram Hazony versus Martin Buber and his 'Ideological Children,'" in Jewish Social Studies, Winter 2001.
- "The Questionable Judaism of Moses Mendelssohn," in New German Critique, Spring/summer 1999.
- "Antiheroic Mock Heroics: Daniel Boyarin versus Theodor Herzl and his Legacy," in Jewish Social Studies, Fall 1998.
- "Kant's View of Mendelssohn," in Perspectives on Jewish Thought and Mysticism, Harwood Press, 1998.
- "Moses Mendelssohn," in Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Routledge, 1998.
- "Relativizing Nationalism: The Role of Klesmer in George Eliot's Daniel Deronda," in Jewish Social Studies, Spring/Summer 1997.
- "Leo Strauss and Jewish Modernity," in Leo Strauss and Judaism, David Novak ed., Rowman and Littlefield, 1996.