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AI13 Moses, Luther & Erasmus

Under the hypothesis that Ashkenaz in the fullest sense of the word originates in the 1520s with the advent of Luther’s most momentous publications, this course will focus on the violent controversy between Martin Luther and Desiderius Erasmus on the question of the freedom of the will and the metaphysical importance of meritorious deeds. This question is taken to be definitive of Ashkenazi history in its theological, philosophical and psycho-sociological dimensions. Max Weber’s thesis regarding the impact of Luther’s doctrine on capitalism is an example of this. Kant’s ethics is another example. In terms of method, the course will be a close reading of Erasmus’ De libero arbitrio diatribe sive collatio (1524) and Luther’s De Servo Arbitrio (1425). What will emerge as the ultimately defining Jewish character in this Christian controversy is the way its entire hermeneutic horizon is set by Moses’s book, Deuteronomy.

Course Specifications
Type: Elective
Lesson type: Lecture
Hours: 28 (5 credits)
Requirement: essay.
Instructor: Prof. MICHAEL CHIGHEL
Course Readings1
Luther and Erasmus, Free Will and Salvation (Knox, 1969)