Covenantal Thinking

Essays on the Philosophy and Theology of David Novak

Edited by Paul E. Nahme & Yaniv Feller
Categories: Philosophy, Religious Studies, Regional & Cultural Studies
Series: The Kenneth Michael Tanenbaum Series in Jewish Studies
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
Hardcover : 9781487503987, 336 pages, June 2024
Ebook (PDF) : 9781487519209, 336 pages, March 2024
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781487519216, 336 pages, March 2024

Table of contents

Introduction: Covenantal Thinking in the Post-Polemic Age
Paul E. Nahme and Yaniv Feller

I. Election

1. Speech Delivered at the Seventh Annual Semikha Ceremony of Yeshivat Maharat
Marianne Novak

2. From Prison to Home
Martin Kavka

3. Freedom from God: Rebalancing David Novak’s Covenantal Theology
Jim Diamond

4. What, Not Who, Is a Jew: Halevi-Maimonides in Those Days, Rabbi Aviner and Rabbi Kafih in Our Days
Menachem Kellner

5. Reply
David Novak

II. Natural Law

6. Reconciling Chosenness and Natural Law in David Novak’s Theology of Covenant
Leora Batnitzky

7. Getting Clear and Getting Real about Natural Law
Lenn Goodman

8. Inviting David Novak to Re-appraise “Natural Theology”
Matthew Levering

9. Reply
David Novak

III. Polity

10. Covenant and Federalism: An Appreciation and Critique of David Novak’s Social and Political Thought
Alan Mittleman

11. Politics and Precedent: David Novak, Meir Kahane, and Yoel Teitelbaum (the Satmar Rebbe) on Judaism and Zionism
Shaul Magid

12. Reply
David Novak

IV. Reason

13. How “Interfaith” Was Medieval Philosophical Dialogue: Wrestling with the Thought of David Novak
Aaron Hughes

14. The Limits of Jewish Philosophical Reflection
Randi Rashkover

15. David Novak on Covenantal Relations
Peter Ochs

16. Reply
David Novak

Biographies of the Authors


The philosophy and theology of David Novak, one of the most prominent and creative contemporary Jewish thinkers, grapples with Judaism, Christian theology, the tradition of natural law, and the Western philosophical canon. Never shying away from contested ethical and religious themes, Novak’s original insights and intellectual spirit have spanned voluminous publications and inspired Jewish, Christian, and Muslim thinkers to engage concepts such as religious liberty, covenantal morality, and the importance of theological reasoning.

Written primarily by scholars in the field of Jewish thought, Covenantal Thinking is a collection of essays dedicated to Novak’s work. The book examines topics such as election, natural law, Jewish political thought, Zionism, and the relation between reason and revelation. This collection is unique because it includes Novak’s replies to his critics, including his clarifications of his philosophical and theological positions. Offering a vital contribution to contemporary Jewish thought, Covenantal Thinking illuminates Novak’s contributions as a scholar who trained, conversed with, and inspired the next generation of philosophical theologians.