Book Release: Dr. Dru Johnson’s ‘Biblical Philosophy’

'Biblical Philosophy: A Hebraic Approach to the Old and New Testaments' (Cambridge University, April 2021) challenges a common assumption that the Bible must be excluded from the philosophical tradition.

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Dr. Dru Johnson, associate professor of biblical and religious studies at The King’s College and the director for the Center for Hebraic Thought, published a new book this year titled Biblical Philosophy: A Hebraic Approach to the Old and New Testaments (Cambridge University, April 2021). The book argues that the Hebrew Bible has a distinct philosophical style, challenging a common assumption that the Bible must be excluded from the philosophical tradition and read solely as a religious text.

In Biblical Philosophy, Johnson demonstrates how the Hebrew scriptures present coherent answers to philosophical questions surrounding the nature of reality and life. The book details how the style of philosophy present in the Hebrew scriptures also carries forward to the New Testament. Johnson writes in the book description, “The Gospels and letters of Paul exhibit the same genetic markers, modes of argument, particular argument forms, and philosophical convictions that define the Hebraic style, while they engaged with Hellenistic rhetoric.”

While the Hebrew scriptures don’t fit into the traditional philosophical definitions and categories of Greco-Roman philosophies, Johnson argues that they deserve a seat at the philosophical table. At a book launch event for Biblical Philosophy hosted by The Philos Project on June 21, Johnson explained, “The Biblical authors had thoughts about the world. They had thoughts about the way politics worked; they had thoughts about the way oppressive cycles spin; they had thoughts about the nature of truth; those thoughts get worked out in the text that they produced.”

Dr. Dru Johnson speaks on his latest book, Biblical Philosophy, at the launch event on June 3, hosted by The Philos Project. L-R: Rob Nicholson (President and Executive Director of The Philos Project), Jesse Rojo (Hispanic Affairs Director at The Philos Project), Dr. Dru Johnson (Director of the Center for Hebraic Thought at The King’s College), and Dr. David Jackson (African American Affairs Associate Director at the Philos Project).

Biblical Philosophy is intended to help students, scholars, and lay people better understand the philosophical tradition of the Hebrew scriptures and apply its wisdom to the enduring questions of human life. This approach frees Christian readers to appreciate the philosophical richness of the Biblical authors, rather than only reading the Bible for private devotional inspiration.

To learn more about the book, watch the full Philos Project launch event, read Johnson’s “The Biblical Authors Should Count as Philosophers” at the Cambridge University Press blog, or listen to the Mosaic podcast episode “Dru Johnson on Biblical Philosophy.”

The ideas in Biblical Philosophy form the basis for the Center for Hebraic Thought at The King’s College. Follow the Center’s work on the website, magazine, podcast, or on social media.

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