Workshop on Hermann Cohen’s Religion of Reason Out of the Sources of Judaism (RRSJ)
Boston University’s Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies will host a workshop to mark the centenary of the first publication of Hermann Cohen’s Die Religion der Vernunft aus den Quellen des Judentums (Leipzig 1919). The workshop will meet in Boston on June 7-9, 2020.
The centenary of Cohen’s posthumous work provides an opportunity to gather junior and senior scholars around this seminal text and read it afresh, in light of new scholarship and contemporary questions. We particularly encourage junior scholars to apply who can bring new perspectives on Cohen’s Jewish philosophy of religion and ethics, its cultural-historical contexts, and its philosophical relevance for today.
If successful, we envisage follow-up workshops over the next two or three years that may lead to the production of a handbook or commentary on RRSJ.
We particularly encourage proposals that will offer close readings and analysis of any of the chapters of RRSJ.
Additional topics may include:
- Scholarship that informed Cohen’s philosophical and philological thinking on religion. Of particular interest are his readings of David Einhorn, August Gfrörer, A.B. Ritschl, Chaim Steinthal, and Julius Wellhausen.
- Debates with contemporary Protestant thinkers, including Paul Natorp, Wilhelm Herrmann, and Ernst Troeltsch.
- American reception of RRSJ
- The Hebrew translation of RRSJ and its reception in Israeli academic and/or religious contexts, incl. Rav Kook.
- Soloveitchik and Cohen.
- Bible and biblical exegesis in RRSJ
- Cohen’s reception and interpretation of rabbinic literature
- RRSJ in context of the series, Grundriss der Gesamtwissenschaft des Judentums
- Cohen’s reception of Maimonides and Albo
- The systematic disposition of RRSJ
- RRSJ and other neo-Kantian philosophies of religion
- Virtue ethics in RRSJ and Cohen’s Ethik des reinen Willens (1904/07)
- RRJS and philosophical system: continuity and difference
Paper proposals should be sent by February 1, 2020, as PDF documents attached to an email addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: “2020 BU-Cohen workshop.” The proposal should include title and an abstract of 300-500 words and an updated academic resume. We will send acceptance emails by February 15, to leave participants time to make travel arrangements.
Participants are encouraged to use their own research funding for travel and accommodation. A limited number of stipends for travel and accommodation are available for participants unable to cover their costs. Please include your budget requests with your proposal. In view of the environmental impact of air travel we will consider including paper presentations via teleconferencing.
Conference direction: Michael Zank (Boston University)
Organizing committee: Myriam Bienenstock (Paris), Dana Hollander (McMaster University), Paul Nahme (Brown University), Hartwig Wiedebach (Hermann Cohen Archiv ETH Zürich)