JSlogoBiosketch for Professor David R. Blumenthal


Dr. David R. Blumenthal is the Jay and Leslie Cohen Professor of Judaic Studies at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and Columbia University, having studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and done research at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris.

Professor Blumenthal has made signifcant contributions to five fields of Judaic Studies. First, in the area of medieval studies, Professor Blumenthal has written two books, The Commentary of Hoter ben Shelomo to the Thirteen Principles of Maimonides and The Philosophic Questions and Answers of Hoter ben Shelomo. He served as editor of the Etudes sur le judaisme médiéval and of Approaches to Judaism in Medieval Times, and has written numerous articles on a wide range of topics in medieval Judaica. His most recent book, which summarizes his work in this area, is Philosophic Mysticism: Essays in Rational Religion.

Second, Professor Blumenthal has contributed to the study of Jewish spirituality and mysticism with his two-volume study of Jewish mystical texts, Understanding Jewish Mysticism, and a series of articles, including "The Creator and the Computer" and "Maimonides: Prayer, Worship, and Mysticism."

Third, Professor Blumenthal has been active in formulating the parameters of the study of Judaism in the university setting, including such articles as "Jewish Studies and Religious Studies" and "Judaic Studies: An Exercise in the Humanities."

Fourth, Professor Blumenthal has contributed to the area of holocaust studies, having edited two volumes of essays, Emory Studies on the Holocaust: An Interfaith Inquiry, and writtten many articles in the field.

In addition, Professor Blumenthal published the last work of his teacher, Professor Georges Vajda, and a book of his late father's works, "...And Bring Them Closer to Torah": The Life and Work of Aaron H. Blumenthal.

Professor Blumenthal's fifth field of his study is contemporary Jewish theology. His first work, God at the Center, is a book on contemporary Jewish spiritual theology rooted in the writings of the hasidic rabbi, Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev. He has also written The Place of Faith and Grace in Judaism; "Mercy," "Creation: What Difference Does It Make," and several entries in various books of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim dialogue.

Professor Blumenthal's second major work in contemporary Jewish theology is entitled, Facing the Abusing God: A Theology of Protest. It draws on psychotherapy with survivors of child abuse and the holocaust to suggest an answer to the question, where was God during the holocaust.

Professor Blumenthal's third book in this area is entitled, The Banality of Good and Evil: Moral Lessons from the Shoah and Jewish Tradition. It draws on social-psychological and historical research to propose an answer to the question, where was humanity during the holocaust

Professor Blumenthal was chairperson of the Department of Religion at Emory, was director of the Fred R. Crawford Witness to the Holocaust Project at Emory, was special advisor to the chairman of the Holocaust Memorial Council, and was an officer of the Association for Jewish Studies. He has been visiting professor at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris, at the Gregorian Pontifical University in Rome, Skirball Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Post-Graduate Jewish Studies in England, and Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Jerusalem. He is also the recipient of several fellowships and awards. Professor Blumenthal continues to be active in many professional organizations and to lecture widely on a variety of topics.

Professor Blumenthal is a member of the European Academy of Sciences. He also maintains his own website <http://www.js.emory.edu/BLUMENTHAL>.

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