Princeton University has announced a $4.5 million grant from the New York City-based Tikvah Fund to establish a program designed to strengthen undergraduate interest in Jewish thought and encourage discussion of Jewish history and ideas in a context with other historical, philosophical, and theological traditions.

The Tikvah Project on Jewish Thought will work to develop a national and international forum for exploring Jewish thought as it relates to fundamental questions. In addition to hosting visiting scholars and fellows, the project will sponsor new undergraduate courses that explore thematic issues such as “God and Politics,” “Faith and Doubt,” and “What Is Human Nature?” from both Jewish and non-Jewish perspectives. The project also will host a series of workshops and working groups that convene teachers and students from various disciplines and will sponsor a series of publications and summer institutes.

“We believe the Jewish tradition has an important contribution to make to the humanities as a whole — in politics, history, religion, philosophy,” said Princeton religion professor Leora Batnitzky, the project’s director. “Any educated person, Jewish and non-Jewish, ought to know something about Jewish thought and civilization. And we hope that the implementation of this kind of curriculum will have long-lasting effects for the future of Jewish studies and the humanities.”

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