New in spring 2014: visiting professor teaches Jewish thought and philosophy

in Uncategorized
November 2nd, 2013

This spring, we are hosting Thomas Meyer, Visiting Associate Professor of Jewish Studies, a specialist in modern German Jewish intellectual history and Continental philosophy. Professor Meyer, who is currently working on a critical biography of political philosopher Leo Strauss, will teach an introduction to Modern Jewish Thought (CASRN329/629), and a topics in philosophy and religion course devoted to the 1929 Davos Hochschultage debate between Ernst Cassirer and Martin Heidegger (CASRN397/697, CASPH456/656, STHTT819). For more information, please contact Thomas Meyer directly at <>.

In Modern Jewish Thought (CASRN329/629), students will encounter the writings of Jewish thinkers from the European Enlightenment to twentieth century existentialism and Zionism, including Moses Mendelssohn, Martin Buber, Theodore Herzl, and Emmanuel Levinas. The course, which meets TR 9:30-11 in JSC201, introduces some of the great philosophical debates on religion and secularism, revelation and scientific reason, and ethnic particularism and universal ethics, through the lens of the Jewish minority experience.

The topics in philosophy and religion course on Heidegger and Cassirer at Davos, 1929 (CAS RN397/PH456/GRS RN697/PH656/STH TT819) meets Thursday 3:30-6:30. This seminar is open to advanced undergraduates and to graduate students with some background in philosophy. No specialized knowledge is required, though reading knowledge of German may come in handy. The 1929 Davos debate is remembered as one of the seminal moments in 20th-century history. The ostensible subject of this intellectual duel in front of witnesses was the legacy of Kant, but it really pitted against one another a science-oriented neo-Kantianism, represented by Ernst Cassirer (later famous for his philosophy of symbolic form) and a new, critical departure from the western philosophical tradition represented by Martin Heidegger. This course will review the basic texts, some of them newly published, and the philosophical problems at stake.

Prof. Meyer who received his philosophical doctorate (2003) and teaching qualification (habilitation, 2009) from Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich is the author of seven books and numerous articles on many subjects in modern Jewish thought and Continental philosophy. His appointment at BU is made possible by the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies endowment fund.