Leora Batnitzky joined the faculty in 1997. Her teaching and research interests include philosophy of religion, modern Jewish thought, hermeneutics, and contemporary legal and political theory. In 2002 she received Princeton’s President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching. She is the author of Idolatry and Representation: The Philosophy of Franz Rosenzweig Reconsidered (Princeton, 2000), Leo Strauss and Emmanuel Levinas: Philosophy and the Politics of Revelation (Cambridge, 2006), and How Judaism Became a Religion: An Introduction to Modern Jewish Thought (Princeton, 2011). She is currently working on two books, the first a comparative study of conversion controversies in Israel and India, tentatively titled “What is Religious Freedom? The Case of Conversion in Israel and India,” and the second on the Jewish apostate and Catholic saint Edith Stein, tentatively titled “The Continued Relevance of Edith Stein for Jewish and Christian Self-Understanding.” She is co-editor, with Ilana Pardes, of The Book of Job: Aesthetics, Ethics and Hermeneutics (de Gruyter, 2014), with Hanoch Dagan, of Institutionalizing Rights and Religion (Cambridge University Press, 2017), with Yonatan Brafman, of an anthology Jewish Legal Theories (Brandies Library of Modern Jewish Thought, 2018) and, with Ra’anan Boustan, of the journal Jewish Studies Quarterly. Along with Vivian Liska and Ilana Pardes, she is co-director of the international Center for Bible, Culture, and Modernity, https://www.uantwerpen.be/en/projects/bible-culture-modernity/. She served as Chair of the Department of Religion from 2010-2019. She served as Chair of the Department of Religion from 2010-2019 and currently serves as Director of Princeton’s Program in Judaic Studies.
Rethinking Jewish and Christian Exceptionalisms” Modern Theology, https://doi.org/10.1111/moth.12740, forthcoming 2022
“Between Ancestry and Belief: ‘Judaism’ and ‘Hinduism’ in the Nineteenth-Century,” Modern Judaism, 41: 2 (May 2021) pp. 194–219 https://doi.org/10.1093/mj/kjab001
“On Anti-Anti-Semitism,” Hazman Hazeh (Van Leer Institute), July 2021 (Hebrew) https://hazmanhazeh.org.il/anti-antisemitism/
“Beyond the Law: Theology has a Place in the Jewish Tradition,” Times Literary Supplement https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/the-cambridge-companion-to-jewish-theology-steven-kepnes-review-leora-batnitzky/
Courses – Spring 2022
REL 347: Religion and Law
(EM) Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit Total Course Enrollment 20
Professor(s): Leora Batnitzky
3:00pm – 4:20pm MW Seminar
Traditions Stream Requirement: Philosophical and Ethical Approaches to Religion
Satisfies Critical Approaches (CA) Requirement for Majors
A critical examination of the relation between concepts of “religion” and “law,” as they figure in modern Christian and Jewish thought, modern legal theory and contemporary debates about religious freedom. If religion gives law its spirit, and law gives religion its structure, then what is their practical relation in both religious and secular life? This course explores the relation between Jewish and Christian conceptions of law, both in their ancient and modern contexts, and the relation between traditional religious and modern secular views of law in debates about the modern nation state.
REL 519: Religion and Critical Thought Workshop
Graded */aud Total Enrollment 15
Professor(s): Leora Batnitzky
9:00am – 10:30am W
A weekly, year-long workshop focused on current student and faculty research in religion and critical thought, designed primarily for graduate students working on dissertations and general examination essays on the philosophy of religion, religious ethics, and the role of religion in politics. Note: REL 518 (fall) and REL 519 (spring) constitute this year-long workshop. In order to receive credit and/or a grade, students must take the course both semesters.