Judah Isseroff


Judah began his studies in the Religion, Ethics, and Politics subfield in 2016. His research is located at the intersections of modern Jewish thought, politics, and theology. Related research interests include questions of Judaism and race, political theology, and Jewish-Christian theological interchange.

Judah’s dissertation “Beyond Political Theology: Hannah Arendt’s Jewish Theology of Givenness” reads Arendt’s Jewish writings against the grain of their dominant interpretation, arguing that Arendt’s Jewishness is inseparable from her Jewish theology. Givenness, Arendt’s core theological concept, marks her break from the tradition of Christian theology running from Augustine to Heidegger. Arendt’s understanding of givenness undergirds her posture of gratitude for creation, for things being as they are. The dissertation pursues the role of givenness in Arendt’s thought on Jewish identity and femininity, antisemitism and anti- Judaism, and Jewish politics. Out of the dissertation, Arendt emerges as a crucial figure in the sweep of 20th century Jewish theological thought. The dissertation also has implications for how we understand political theology, the boundaries of Jewish and Christian theology, and the integration of an author’s life and work.

Judah’s research has been supported by the Princeton University Center for Human Values, the Program in Judaic Studies, and the Religion and Public Life Fellowship at Princeton’s Center for the Study of Religion. His writing has appeared in The Forward and Haaretz.