The Difference between a Biblical Scholar and a Philosopher

The former seeks answers; the latter seeks the questions that can help situate human beings existentially and rationally within the universe.

From a sculpture of Maimonides in the U.S. Capitol by Brenda Putnam. Wikipedia.

From a sculpture of Maimonides in the U.S. Capitol by Brenda Putnam. Wikipedia.

Response
Jan. 23 2017
About the author

James A. Diamond is a professor of Jewish studies at the University of Waterloo. His books include Maimonides and the Shaping of the Jewish Canon (2014) and, most recently, Jewish Theology Unbound (2018).


Jon Levenson’s thoughtful critique of Kenneth Seeskin’s Thinking about the Torah is commendable both for taking a serious contemporary Jewish philosopher seriously and for taking the text at issue equally seriously. Many other biblical scholars spend their lives studying and teaching texts that they themselves do not take seriously, devoting themselves instead to the interminable exercise of determining the precise historical development of the Bible while rigorously avoiding questions of the text’s substantive value or meaning.

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More about: Aristotle, Hebrew Bible, Maimonides, Philosophy, Religion & Holidays