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King’s Announces Launch of Center for Hebraic Thought

August 12, 2019 | Rebecca Au-Mullaney

The King’s College is pleased to announce the launch of the Center for Hebraic Thought, a hub for research, resources, and conversations about biblical literacy and the intellectual world of the Bible. Hosted at The King’s College in partnership with The Philos Project, the Center aims to help both scholars and laypeople understand the Scriptures’ systems of thought and apply them to today’s big questions.

Dr. Dru Johnson, associate professor of biblical and theological studies at The King’s College, directs the Center for Hebraic Thought (CHT). Robert Nicholson, founder and executive director of The Philos Project, is a senior fellow. Aiming to reach “scholars, pastors, and normal folks” both within and outside of Jewish and Christian circles, CHT maintains partnerships with the American Bible Society, The Herzl Institute, and the Theopolis Institute. Rabbi Dr. Joshua Berman, Rev. Dr. Peter Leithart, Rev. Dr. Ryan O’Dowd, and Dr. Shira Weiss serve as academic fellows.

“The Church has historically studied the Scriptures to see what and how ancient Israel thought about reality,” say Johnson and Nicholson. “Yet, over the past two centuries, pastors, scholars, and the rest of us have become tone-deaf to the theology of the biblical authors in their ancient context.”

The Center was formed to bring about a renaissance for the Bible, so that Hebraic thought can once again shape the scholarly and popular imagination and speak to real-life questions in technology, governance, justice, the sciences, sexual identity, and more.

Nicholson says, “Hebraic thought is more than just religion—it’s a fully-formed cultural tradition. It includes that rich collection of ideas, concepts, stories, and values that emerge from the world of ancient Israel.”

For scholars working on the philosophy and reasoning of the biblical world, CHT provides connections to other like-minded academics and institutions. For pastors and the general public, CHT offers resources, training, lectures, and curricula to better understand the significance of the Scriptures’ intellectual world.

CHT’s placement at The King’s College is strategic. New York City provides access to many academic institutions and a strong contingent of Jewish scholars. King’s is the only Christian college (of schools in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities) with an accredited major with a Hebraic thought concentration. In turn, Philos contributes a robust network of academics, ministry professionals, politicians, journalists, students, and others who already appreciate the world of the Bible. King’s and Philos have also collaborated before: Philos sponsors the Passages Israel trip that has sent over 40 King’s students to study in Israel each year since 2015.

Johnson says, “I have been researching and writing on the philosophical savvy of Scripture for over a decade. Academics have now reached a point where they are willing to wrestle with the thought-world of Scripture as necessary to understanding it. The Church desperately needs to re-capture her understanding of how the biblical authors thought beyond the history they passed along to us so we can apply the Scripture’s teaching to the most complex situations we face—from prison reform to parenting to transhumanist technologies.”

To learn more about the Center for Hebraic Thought, sign up for the email newsletter on CHT’s website, hebraicthought.org.