An Introduction to Jewish Thought

Free Lecture

Despite the attempts of Jewish philosophers from Philo of Alexandria in the early years of the first century of the Common Era to Maimonides in the medieval period and beyond, to understand Jewish thinking and non-Jewish thinking as ultimately expressing the same series of ideas and truth, the differences between the two exist at even linguistic levels and the greater dissimilarity between the two in a variety of areas including the very notions of epistemology and ontology are clear.

If the philosophical traditions of the Hellenistic world can be seen as the key intellectual prism of Western thought, then the Bible, and the classical Jewish tradition found in the Mishnah and the Gemara must be viewed as foundational sources of Jewish thinking. What then are the differences between Jewish thinking and Greek thinking and do any similarities or intersections exist? Heschel argues that one of the first distinguishing features of Jewish/Biblical thinking predates the Greek era, but is certainly related to an area of concern for the latter.

This is a short 65 minute lecture given at Congregation Beth Shalom in 2019 and a excellent starting point for further study.

Your Instructor

​Rabbi Dr. Juan Marcos Bejarano Gutierrez
​Rabbi Dr. Juan Marcos Bejarano Gutierrez

Rabbi Juan Marcos Bejarano Gutierrez is a graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas where he earned a bachelor of science in electrical engineering. He studied at the Siegal College of Judaic Studies in Cleveland and received a Master of Arts Degree in Judaic Studies. He completed his doctoral studies at the Spertus Institute in Chicago in 2015. He studied at the American Seminary for Contemporary Judaism and received rabbinic ordination in 2011 from Yeshiva Mesilat Yesharim.

Rabbi Bejarano Gutierrez was a board member of the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies from 2011-2013. He has published various articles in HaLapid, The Journal for Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian Crypto-Jews, and Apuntes-Theological Reflections from a Hispanic-Latino Context, y es el autor de What is Kosher?and What is Jewish Prayer?,Who is a Jew?, Secret Jews: The Complex Identity of Crypto-Jews and Crypto-Judaism, Against the Greeks, He is currently the director of the B’nai Anusim Center for Education at

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