Podcast: Dru Johnson, Jonathan Silver, and Robert Nicholson on the New Center for Hebraic Thought

On the opening of a new academic institution devoted to study of the Hebrew Bible for its moral and political wisdom.

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images.

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images.

Tikvah Podcast at Mosaic, Dru Johnson, Jonathan Silver and Robert Nicholson
Oct. 25 2019
About the authors

A weekly podcast, produced in partnership with the Tikvah Fund, offering up the best thinking on Jewish thought and culture.

Jonathan Silver is a senior director of the Tikvah Fund.

This Week’s Guests: Dru Johnson, Jonathan Silver, and Robert Nicholson


The English Catholic writer G.K. Chesterton famously described the United States as “a nation with the soul of a church.” One-hundred years or so later, Americans remain a deeply religious people; it is impossible to understand the American story without reference to Scripture in general, and the Hebrew Bible in particular.

But these days something in American culture is missing: one can undertake the academic study of the Bible—uncovering the text’s strands of composition, its dating, its relation to ancient Near Eastern culture—but less easily available in our institutions of higher learning is the opportunity to mine the Hebrew Bible for its moral and political wisdom.

The Center for Hebraic Thought (CHT) at The King’s College in New York is trying to change that. Newly founded in partnership with the Philos Project, the CHT aims to “recapture our understanding of the biblical authors’ patterns of thought and how they can inform our understanding today.” Last month, the CHT hosted a launch event featuring Philos Project Director Robert Nicholson in conversation with CHT Director Dru Johnson and Tikvah’s own Jonathan Silver. And so this week the Tikvah Podcast at Mosaic brings you a special broadcast of this eye-opening discussion, featuring insight into the wisdom of the Hebrew Bible and a clear explanation of why 21st-century America needs a revival of Hebraic thought.

Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble.



Every Thursday, the Tikvah Podcast at Mosaic will bring to your car/earbuds/home stereo/Alexa the latest in our efforts to advance Jewish thought. For more on the new podcast, check out our inaugural post here.

If you have thoughts about the podcast that you’d like to share, ideas for future guests and topics, or any other form of feedback, just send us an email at editors@mosaicmagazine.com. We’re grateful for your support, and we look forward to a new year of great conversations on Jewish essays and ideas.

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More about: History & Ideas, Tikvah Podcast at Mosaic