This course will provide a survey of the history of the many and changing understandings of the God-idea in the history of Judaism, from the Torah of Moses, to the radical redifiniton of God found in the philosophy of Mordecai Kaplan. Three foundational Jewish thinkers, Maimonides, Spinoza and Mendelssohn will be examined in particular detail. The course will trace the concept of God from its birth, with the biblical patriarch, Abraham, to its "death" in the atheistic/materialist writings of Karl Marx. Put another way, the course will examine a variety of "theisms" from the anthropological Monotheism of the Biblical tradition, through the medieval abstract notion of the God of the Philosophers (i.e. Maimonides), to the "pantheism" of Spinoza, the non-theism of Mendelssohn and the atheism of Marx.

While the Syllabus is being developed for this new course, students should purchase either hard-copies (preferable) or online versions of the following required texts:

1) TaNaKH (or the Hebrew Bible), Jewish Publication Society student edition.
2) Moses Maimonides, "The Guide for the Perplexed," translated by Friedlander
3) Baruch Spinoza, "The Ethics & Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect" and the "Theological-Political Treatise" (Samuel Shirley, translator; Seymour Feldman, editor)
4) Moses Mendelssohn, "Jerusalem", Altman translation.
5) Mordecai M. Kaplan "The Meaning of God in Modern Jewish Religion."

A fuller syllabus will be handed out on the first day of class, which is Thursday, Sept. 1st.