Norbert Samuelson

Posted in 50th Year Members | Comments Off on Norbert Samuelson

Norbert Samuelson

Norbert M. Samuelson is the Harold and Jean Grossman Chair of Jewish Studies at Arizona State University in the School of History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies.  He is an internationally renowned scholar of Jewish philosophy, who is the author of twelve books and over 200 articles.  He is the founder and secretary of the Academy of Jewish Philosophy.


Professor Samuelson’s scholarship focuses on Jewish philosophy and theology.  In the early part of his career, he wrote primarily on medieval Jewish philosophy.  His pioneer work on a fourteenth century Jewish philosopher, Levi Ben Gershom (Gersonides) – Gersonides on God’s knowledge (1977) – propelled the hitherto little known thinker to the forefront of modern English language scholarship on medieval Jewish philosophy.


Going beyond the history of Jewish philosophy, Professor Samuel authored four major constructive philosophic-theological works: The First Seven Days: A Philosophical Commentary on the Creation of Genesis (1992), Judaism and the Doctrine of Creation (1994), Revelation and the God of Israel (2002), and Jewish Faith and Modern Science (2009).  These works brought Jewish thinkers to focus on the interplay between science and religion and showed how the biblical text could be better understood in the light of contemporary physics and the life sciences.


Professor Samuelson has published two new books I Jewish philosophy.  The first is A Users’ Guide to Franz Rosenzweig’s Star of Redemption (1999), which attempts to make the rather difficult text of Rosenzwig accessible to contemporary readers in the English-speaking world.  The second is Jewish philosophy, an historical introduction (2003), which is a textbook designed for university undergraduates with minimal background in philosophy, in history, and in Judaism.  At present Professor Samuelson is involved with two major research and writing projects: An intellectual history of the developing concepts of light in physics and enlightenment in the Abrahamic religions, and a close philosophical commentary on the traditional rabbinic prayer book.


Professor Samuelson has been active n the American Academy of Religion, the Association of Jewish Studies, the American Philosophical Association, the British Society for the History of Science, Metanexus, the International Society for Science and Religion, and the Franz Rosenzweig Gessellschaft.  In these organizations he has articulated a distinctly Jewish way of doing philosophy and demonstrated how to think creatively and precisely about the interface of reason and faith.