Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Department of Religious Studies
Benjamin Pollock
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 BENJAMIN POLLOCK

   E-mail: polloc18@msu.edu

   Office: 727 Wells Hall 

   Associate Professor in Religious Studies

   Core Faculty Member of the Jewish Studies Program

 

 

 

 

EDUCATION

Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem 2006

M.A., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem 1998

B.A., University of California, Berkeley 1993

 

PRINCIPAL SCHOLARLY INTERESTS 

Modern Jewish Philosophy, Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Continental Thought, Philosophy of Religion

 

BIOGRAPHICAL PROFILE

Dr. Pollock joined the faculty of the Religious Studies department at Michigan State in the Fall of 2006. Since then, he has also been a core faculty member of the Jewish Studies Program.

 

RESEARCH 

Dr. Pollock received his doctorate in Jewish Thought at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the summer of 2006, having focused his studies on the relation between Jewish philosophy and general philosophy in Germany from the Enlightenment through the early 20th century. His first book, Franz Rosenzweig and the Systematic Task of Philosophy (Cambridge University Press, 2009), was awarded the Salo W. Baron Prize for Outstanding First Book in Jewish Studies by the American Academy of Jewish Research, and the Jordan Schnitzer Award for Best Book in the Field of Jewish Philosophy and Jewish Thought 2009-2012, by the Association for Jewish Studies. Dr. Pollock’s most recent book, Franz Rosenzweig’s Conversions: World Denial and World Redemption (Indiana University Press), appeared in the summer of 2014. 

Dr. Pollock is currently in the beginning stages of a number of new projects. He has completed two articles – one on Moses Mendelssohn and one on Salomon Maimon – as part of an investigation of conceptions of theocracy in modern Jewish philosophy. He has also begun a long-range project that explores therapeutic elements of Jewish philosophical writings on self-formation.

In the classroom, Dr. Pollock tries to convey to students that despite the complexity of the language of theologians and philosophers, the fundamental questions they ask through the ages are in fact the same basic questions that nearly all human beings ask themselves—particularly those who are of university age. When taken seriously, the great thinkers of the religious and philosophical traditions become guides who lead students upon their own paths of self-reflection.

 

COURSES

REL 260 Philosophy of Religion

REL 301 Methods and Theories in Religion

REL 310 Judaism

REL 413 Jewish Philosophy

IAH 231B Education and Perfection in Philosophy and Religious Thought