Diana Lobel

Lobel_Feb 2011147 Bay State Road, Suite 507
Boston, MA 02215
T: 617.353.2863; F: 617.358.3087
E: dnlobel@bu.edu
Fall 2021: TBD. Office hours by appointment


Associate Professor and Associate Director of Graduate Studies in Religion, Ph.D., Harvard University (1995); MTS, Harvard Divinity School (1982); BA, Oberlin College (1979). Previously held Anna Smith Fine Chair in Judaic Studies, Department of Religious Studies, Rice University (1997-99); Harry Starr Fellow in Judaica, Center for Jewish Studies, Harvard University (1999-2000); Fellow at Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Studies, University of Maryland at College Park, Lecturer in University Honors Program (1996-97). Joined the Department of Religion in the fall of 2000.

Professor Lobel teaches comparative religious thought. Her teaching emphasizes interactions between philosophy and religion, close textual reading, and spirituality and religious experience. She is also fascinated by midrash––the dynamic and playful interpretation of the Bible––and the way religious traditions continually renew themselves through the ongoing process of interpretation. Professor Lobel’s first two books explore the intertwined nexus of Jewish and Islamic thought in two medieval Judeo-Arabic classics—Judah Halevi’s philosophical dialogue The Kuzari and Bahya Ibn Paquda’s manual of Jewish pietism, Duties of the Heart––demonstrating the impact of Sufi mysticism on Jewish philosophy. She has also investigated the work of the medieval Judeo-Arabic thinker Moses Maimonides; in several articles, she explores the creative intersection of Aristotelian and Neo-Platonic metaphysics and Sufi-influenced philosophical vocabulary in Maimonides’ thought. In “Being and the Good: Maimonides on Ontological Beauty,” she explores Maimonides’ affective-aesthetic appreciation of Being as the absolute good and the source of all beauty and value.

Her third book, The Quest for God and the Good: World Philosophy as a Living Experience (Columbia University Press, 2011) explores concepts of divinity and goodness across philosophical and religious traditions, East and West. Her most recent book, Philosophies of Happiness: A Comparative Introduction to the Flourishing Life (Columbia University Press, Fall 2017) continues the theme of Eastern and Western conceptions of happiness and the flourishing life, investigating traditions from Aristotle, Maimonides, and the Persian Sufi poem Conference of the Birds to Confucianism, Daoism, the Bhagavad Gītā, and Japanese Zen Buddhism, and engaging in comparison with contemporary studies of mindfulness and happiness. Her current research project returns to the Judeo-Arabic tradition, exploring medieval interpretations of the divine name Ehyeh asher Ehyeh (I am that I am/I will be who I will be) and its relationship to the Tetragrammaton, the ineffable four-letter name of God.

Current CV


Phil of Happiness Lobel

Philosophies of Happiness: A Comparative Introduction to the Flourishing Life
By Diana Lobel
Columbia University Press
November 2017
Buy it now from Columbia University Press
Supplementary Notes and Appendixes are available at: https://bu.academia.edu/dianalobel

The Quest for God and the GoodThe Quest for God and the Good: World Philosophy as a Living Experience
By Diana Lobel
Columbia University Press
July 2011
Buy it now from Columbia University Press

A Sufi-Jewish Dialogue: Philosophy and Mysticism in Bahya Ibn Paquda’s Duties of the Heart.
By Diana Lobel
University of Pennsylvania Press
November 1, 2006
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Between Mysticism and Philosophy: Sufi Language of Religious Experience in Judah Ha-Levi’s Kuzari
By Diana Lobel
State University of New York Press
June 1, 2000
Buy it now from Amazon.com!


  • CAS RN 206 Scriptures in World Religions
  • CAS RN 245 Religious Thought: the Quest for God and the Good/PH 245 Philosophy and Religion
  • CAS RN 338/638 Mysticism and Philosophy: Jewish and Islamic Perspectives
  • CAS RN 323/623 Classical Jewish Thought
  • CAS RN 424/724  Core Texts and Motifs of World Religions-East
  • CAS RN 452/752 Topics in Religious Thought: Religious Thought, East and West