James Diamond

Joseph and Wolf Lebovic Chair of Jewish Studies

Curriculum vitae

James A. Diamond 
Joseph and Wolf Lebovic Chair of Jewish Studies

University telephone: 519-888-4567, ext. 43351
University fax: 519-746-3097
Email: jdiamond@uwaterloo.ca

Academic background

  • 1975 - BA - University of Toronto, Philosophy
  • 1978 - LLB - Osgoode Hall Law School
  • 1979 - LLM - New York University School of Law, International Legal Studies
  • 1980-81 - Lady Davis Fellow, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel, Institute for Research in Jewish Law
  • 1982-2000 - Lawyer and member of Bar in province of Ontario
  • 1992 - MA - University of Toronto, Religious Studies
  • 1999 - PhD - University of Toronto, Religious Studies, Medieval Jewish Thought
  • 2000 - Present - Joseph and Wolf Lebovic Chair of Jewish Studies, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario
  • 2011 - Full Professor

Awards and fellowships

  • 1978 - First Place - Bora Laskin Essay Competition on Jewish Law
  • 1980-81 - - Lady Davis Fellowship
  • 2003 - Canadian Jewish Book Award - Jewish Thought for Maimonides and the Hermeneutics of Concealment
  • 2008 - Canadian Jewish Book Award-  Converts, Heretics and Lepers: Maimonides and the Outsider
  • 2008 - Notable Selection- Jordan Scnitzer Book Award in the Category of Philosophy and Jewish Thought for best book in last 4 years
  • 2009 - SSHRC Standard Research Grant
  • 2013/2013 - Fellow, Tikvah Center for Law and Jewish Civilization, New York University School of Law
  • 2015-2017- Herzl Institute/John Templeton Foundation Fellowship in Jewish Theology. Project- “Constructing a Jewish Philosophical Theology: A Prolegomenon”
  • 2016-University of Pennsylvania- Fellowship, Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies
  • 2019 - Elected Fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research
  • May/2023- Fellow- University of Hamburg,  Maimonides Center for Advanced Studies https://www.maimonides-centre.uni-hamburg.de/fellows/projects/2022-2023/diamond.html



  • “Talmudic Jurisprudence, Equity and the Concept of Lifnim Meshurat Hadin,”Osgoode Hall Law Journal, vol. 17, (1979) pp. 616-631.
  • “The Deception of Jacob: A New Perspective on an Ancient Solution to the Problem,”Vetus Testamentum 34, 2 (1984) 211.
  • "The Deception of Jacob: A New Perspective on an Ancient Solution to the Problem," Vetus Testamentum 34,2 (1984) 211.
  • “The Use of Midrash in Maimonides’Guide of the Perplexed,”AJS Review 21/1 (1996) 39-60.
  • “‘Trial’ as Esoteric Preface in Maimonides’Guide of the Perplexed: A Case Study in the Interplay of Text and Prooftext,”Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy, vol.7, no. 1, (1997), pp. 1-30.
  • “Jacob vs. The Married Harlot: Intertextual Foils in the Guide of the Perplexed”, Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy, vol. 10. no. 1, (2000), pp. 1-25.
  • The Failed Theodicy of a Rabbinic Pariah: A Maimonidean Recasting of Elisha ben Abuyah", Jewish Studies Quarterly , 9:4, (2002) pp 353-380.
  • "Maimonides and the Convert: A Juridical and Philosophical Embrace of the Outsider," Medieval Philosophy and Theology
  • “Maimonidean Scholarship; Pointing Beyond the Academy,” Jewish History, vol.18, no.2 (2004)pp.227-241.
  • Wieseltier's Kaddish: Mourning as a “Delirium of Study,” Philosophy and Literature, vol. 28, no. 1 (2004)pp.150-156
  • Agnon's Kaddish: Mourning for God”,  Shofar, Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish  Studies 22:4 (Summer,  2004)pp.22-42
  • "Maimonides on Leprosy: Illness as Contemplative Metaphor," Jewish Quarterly Review 96:1 (2006) pp.95-122.
  • Maimonides On Kingship: The Ethics of Imperial Humility,” Journal of Religious Ethics 34:1 (2006) pp. 89-114.
  • “The Biblical Monarch as Anarchy Personified: Narrative Configuring Law,” Hebraic Political Studies (2007) 2:1 pp.20-45.
  • “King David of the Sages: Rabbinic Rehabilitation or Ironic Parody?”  Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History  27:3 (2007) pp.373-426
  • “The Deuteronomic Pretty Woman Law: Prefiguring Feminism and Freud in  Nahmanides,”   Jewish Social Studies: History, Culture, Society n.s. 14 no.2 (2008) pp.61-85.
  • “Nahmanides and Rashi on the One Flesh of Conjugal Union: Lovemaking vs. Duty,” Harvard Theological Review 102:2 (2009) pp.193-224.
  • ”Nahmanides on the Polis: Reading Exegesis and Kabbala as Political Theory,” Hebraic Political Studies 4:1(2009) pp.56-79.
  • "Exegetical Idealization: Hermann Cohen's Religion of Reason out of the Sources of Maimonides” Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy 18:1 (2010) pp.49-73.
  • "The Warsaw Ghetto Rebbe: Diverting God's Gaze from a Utopian End to an Anguished Now" Modern Judaism 30:3 (2010) pp.299-330.
  • "Jacob's Melancholic Descent from the Ladder: A Maimonidean Biblical Construct" Journal of Jewish Studies 52:1 (2011) pp. 56-78.
  • "Maimonides, Spinoza, and Buber Read the Hebrew Bible: The Hermeneutical Keys of Divine "Fire" and "Spirit" (Ruach)"  Journal of Religion 91:3 (2011) pp. 320-343.
  • "A Kabbalistic Reinvention of Maimonides' Legal Code: R. Abraham Isaac Kook's Commentary on Sefar HaMada," Jewish Studies, an Internet Journal 11 (2012) pp. 345-384
  • "The Questioning Jew and the Jewish Question," CrossCurrents, March (2014) pp. 123-130.
  • "Isaac Arama's "Nightmare": Closing the Philosophical Exegetical Chapter Maimonides Opened, "European Journal of Jewish Studies 10 (2016) pp. 201-222.
  • “Doing Positive Jewish Theology: The Case of Divine ‘Regret’”, Journal of Textual Reasoning 12:1 (March, 2021) Issue on “New Directions in Jewish Theology”. Doing Positive Jewish Theology: The Case of Divine “Regret” https://jtr.shanti.virginia.edu 
  • ​​​​​​“Raging Hasidic Sermons: R. Kalonymus Kalman Shapira’s Halting Retreat from Theodicy,” Yad Vashem Studies 49:1 (2021)pp.55-84. Published in Hebrew as well:דרשות זעם חסידי: התרחקותו המהוססת של רבי קלונימוס קלמן שפירא מצידוק הדין יד ושם קובץ מחקרים     49:1 (2021) pp.51-74. 
  • The Inexhaustible Metaphor of Light: Illuminating the Fault Lines Between Crescas and Maimonides,” Journal of Textual Reasoning Volume 13, Number 1 (January 2022)   https://jtr.shanti.virginia.edu/vol-13-no-1-jan-2022/the-inexhaustible-metaphor-of-light-illuminating-the-fault-lines-between-crescas-and-maimonides/
  • Maimonides on the Messianic Era: The Grand Finale of Olam Ke-Minhago Noheg,” Hakirah: Flatbush Journal of Jewish Law and Thought 32 (2022) pp. 41-64.

Book reviews

  • Problems and Parables of Law, Josef Stern (SUNY Press), Shofar an Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, 20.1 (2001).

  • Maimonides and the Decline of the Generations, Menachem Kellner, (SUNY Press) Journal of Law and Religion. (2002) xvii, no. 1&2.
  • Joel L. Kraemer. Maimonides: The Life and World of One of Civilization's Greatest Minds, The American Historical Review, 114:514-514, April 2009
  • Aaron Hughes, “The Art of Dialogue in Jewish Philosophy”, Studies in Religion 39:2 (2010) pp. 315-317.
  • Dianna Lobel, "The Quest for God and the Good: World Philosophy as a Living Experience" H-Net Reviews (Feb. 2103) 
  • Moshe Halbertal, "Maimonides: Life and Thought" Jerusalem Post Magazine,  Feb. 13, 2014.
  • Carlos Fraenkel, Philosophical Religions from Plato to Spinoza: Reason, Religion, and Autonomy Iyyun • The Jerusalem Philosophical Quarterly 65(January,2016)pp.96-106.
  • Jon D. Levenson, The Love of God: Divine Gift, Human Gratitude, and Mutual Faithfulness in Judaism, Studies in Judaism, Humanities, and the  Social Sciences 1:1, Fall 2017, pp.125-128.
  • David I. Shyovitz, “A Remembrance of His Wonders: Nature and the Supernatural in Medieval Ashkenaz,” American Historical Review. Feb 2019, 32-321.
  • Alan L. Mittleman, Does Judaism Condone Violence? Holiness and Ethics in the Jewish Tradition, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, Apr 6 (2019) https://ndpr.nd.edu/news/does-judaism-condone-violence-holiness-and-ethics-in-the-jewish-tradition/
  • Tamar M. Rudavsky, 'Jewish Philosophy in the Middle Ages: Science, Rationalism, and Religion', Journal of the History of Philosophy 58:1 (January 2020): 171-172.
  • George Kohler, Kabbalah Research in the Wissenschaft des Judentums (1820–1880).  Jewish History 33:3-4 (2020): 533-536.
  • Sarah Stroumsa, “Andalus and Sefarad: On Philosophy and Its History in Islamic Spain,” Medieval Encounters 27 (2021) 201–204.

Review essays

Chapters in edited collections:

  • 2007- “The First Word: The Face of Ethical Encounter"

  • The Ten Commandments for Jews, Christians, and Others, ed., Roger VanHarn, (William B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Mich., 2007) pp.3-15.
  • 2008 - “Rabbi Fackenheim and the Hermeneutics of Philosophic Encounter,” for edited volume ,Emil Fackenheim: Philosopher, Theologian, Jew ed., James A. Diamond, Martin Yaffe, Sharon Portnoff (Brill).
  • 2008 - “Maimonides on Leprosy: From Idle Gossip to Heresy,” (Hebrew) Maimonides: Conservatism, Originality, Revolution, ed., Aviezer Ravitzky, (Zalman Shazar Center for Jewish History: Jerusalem, 2008) , vol.2, pp.375-394.
  • 2010 - “Forging a New Righteous Nation: Midrashic Interweave of Verse and Text in Maimonides,” in New Directions in Jewish Philosophy, eds., Aaron Hughes, Elliot Wolfson, (Indiana University Press)pp. 286-325.
  • 2012 - "Abrabanel's Exergetical Subversion of Maimonides' Akedah: Transforming a Knight of Intellectual Virtue in to a Knight of Existential Faith," in The Hebrew Bible in Fifteenth Century Spain: exegesis, Philosophy, literature, and the Arts,  eds., Jonathan Decter, Aturo Pratis Olivan (Brill) pp. 75-100.
  • 2012 - "Concepts of Scripture in Maimonides" in Jewish Concepts of Scripture: A Comparative Introduction,  ed., Benjamin Sommer (New York, NY: New York University Press) pp. 123-138.
  • 2012 - "R. Abraham Isaac Kook and Maimonides: A Contemporary Mystic's Embrace of a Medieval Rationalist," in Encountering the Medieval in Modern Jewish Thought,  eds., James A. Diamond, Aaron Hughes (Leiden: Brill) pp. 101-128.
  • 2012 - "Introduction" to Encountering the Medieval in Modern Jewish Thought, eds. James A. Diamond, Aaron Hughes (Brill) pp. 1-16.
  • 2013 - "The Ethics of Biblical Angelic Encounters," in as a Perennial Spring" A Festchrift Honoring Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm,  (New York: downhill Publishing) pp. 115-132.
  • 2014 - "Constructing a Jewish Philosophy of Being Toward Death," in Jewish Philosophy for the Twnety-First Century: Personal Reflections,  eds. Aaron Hughes, Hava Tirosh-Samuelson (Leiden: Brill, 2014) pp. 61-80.
  • 2014 - "The Torah as Song and the Rabbinic Sage as Troubadour,"  in Milin Havivin: An Annual Devoted to Torah, Society, and the Rabbinate,  7 (2013-2014) pp. 95-11.
  • 2015 - “Menachem Kellner: An Intellectual Portrait,” in Menachem Kellner: Jewish Universalism, eds., Hava Tirosh-Samuelson, Aaron Hughes (Leiden: Brill, 2015) pp.1-33.
  • 2015 - “Maimonides vs. Nahmanides on Historical Consciousness and the Shaping of Jewish Identity,” in History, Memory, and Jewish Identity, eds., Ira Robinson, Naftali S. Cohn, and Lorenzo DiTommaso (Academic Studies Press) pp.92-116.
  • 2018- “The Living God: On the Perfection of the Imperfect,” in The Question of God's Perfection Jewish and Christian Essays on the God of the Bible and Talmud, Series:Philosophy of Religion - World Religions, Volume: 8 Eds., Yoram Hazony and Dru Johnson (Leiden: Brill, 2019) pp.43-62.
  • 2019 - “Ehyeh asher Ehyeh: Naming vs Defining God,” in Ehyeh asher Ehyeh, eds., D. Birnbaum, M. Cohen  (New York: New Paradigm Matrix, 2019) pp.213-224.
  • 2021- “Raging Against Reason: Overcoming Sekhel in R. Shapira’s Thought,” in Hasidism, Suffering and Renewal: The Prewar and Holocaust Legacy of R. Kalonymus Shapira, eds., Don Seeman, Daniel Reiser, Ariel Evan Mayse, (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press (SUNY), 2021) pp.235

Encyclopedia entries

   (i) Encyclopedia of Love in World Religions, publisher- ABC-CLIO:

           (a) Fatherhood

           (b)   Saints

  (ii) "Metaphor in Jewish Theology" for New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, Abingdon Press.

  (iii) "Moses Maimonides," for Blackwell International Encyclopedia of Ethics (Blackwell: 2013) 3123-             3130.

  (iv) "David in Medieval Judaism" - Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception, vol. 6, De Gruyter

  (v) "Genocide," Encyclopedia of the Bibe and Its Reception,  vol. 6, De Gruyter


  • Emil Fackenheim: Philosopher, Theologian, Jew (Brill, 2008)
  • Encountering the Medieval in Modern Jewish Thought (Brill, 2012)


  • Maimonides and the Hermeneutics of Concealment: Deciphering Scripture and Midrash in the Guide of the Perplexed , SUNY Press, Albany, N.Y. –Jewish Philosophy Series.  February, 2002
  • Converts, Heretics and Lepers: Maimonides and the Outsider, University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, Indiana, 2007.
  • Maimonides and the Shaping the Jewish Canon, Cambridge University Press, 2014
  • Jewish Theology Unbound, Oxford University Press, 2018
  • Reinventing Maimonides in Contemporary Jewish Thought, Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, (co-authored with Menachem Kellner). February, 2019.

Other Publications

Papers presented - academic conferences and congresses

  • 1998 - Association for Jewish Studies Annual Conference - “Parabolic Precision and Parabolic Flourish in the Guide of the Perplexed.”- Boston.
  • 1999 - Association for Jewish Studies Annual Conference - “The “Rising”of Immutability and the Role of Metatron In Maimonides’ Guide”- Chicago.
  • 2000 - Association for Jewish Studies –“Praying for Success”; The Bracketing of Maimonides’ Guide With Prophetic Yearning - Boston.
  • 2001 - 13th World Congress of Jewish Studies –Maimonides’ Aher and the Corruption of God’s Ahor - Jerusalem.
  • 2001 - Association for Jewish Studies Annual Conference –Providential Man vs. Natural Man in Maimonides’ Guide - Washington, DC.
  • 2001 - Rabbinical Assembly of America –Torah as Philosophical Discourse in the Rambam - Toronto.
  • 2002/Nov. - American Academy of Religion Annual Conference: Organized and proposed theme and abstract for full session and presented paper: Session Theme - “The Intersection of Practical Law and Philosophical Theory: Maimonidean Responsa Concerning the Other
    Paper- Maimonides’ Response to Obadyah the Convert
  • 2002/Dec- Association for Jewish Studies Annual Conference, Los Angeles
    Organized; proposed theme and abstract; obtained participants for full session entitled ‘Kaddish’: Mourning as a Delirium of Study. Participants included Elliot Wolfson, NYU (leading North American scholar in Jewish Mysticism); Jay Harris, Harvard (leading North American scholar in Rabbinics); Leon Wieseltier, Senior literary editor, New Republic (author of Kaddish ). My paper- Agnon: A Modern Classical Medieval Perspective
  • 2003/July- International Medieval Congress- University of Leeds, Leeds, England; Cutting the King Down to Size: A Maimonidean Prescription for Majestic Humility.
  • 2003/Dec- Association for Jewish Studies Annual Conference, Boston, MA
    Maimonides on Leprosy: Illness as Contemplative Metaphor
  • 2004/Dec.- Association for Jewish Studies Annual Conference, Chicago
    Organized session on "The Philosophical Dimension in Fackenheim’s Thought" Presented paper- "Rabbi Fackenheim and the Hermeneutics of Philosophical Encounter"
    Organized and chaired session entitled: Friedberg Genizah Project: Reshaping The Future of Genizah Studies
  • 2005/July- 29th International Congress on Law and Mental Health, Paris, France      From Anarchy to Monarchy: King Saul and the Shaping of Legal Consciousness
  • 2005/Aug.- 14th World Congress of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem, Israel
    Maimonides on the Sabbath: From Divine Will to Natural Order
    Helped organize and chair following session:  Friedberg Project for Genizah Research-Plans and Activities
  • 2005/Dec.- Association for Jewish Studies Annual Conference, Washington DC
    Paper: Maimonides on Shekhinah - Vacating the Divine Dwelling
  • 2006/May- Canadian Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, York U, Toronto.  Paper: Did The Rabbis Really Embrace King David?
  • 2006/Dec- Association for Jewish Studies Annual Conference, San Diego Paper: Prefiguring Freud and Feminism in Nahmanides
  • 2007/June- International Congress on Law and Mental Health. Padua, Italy Paper:  Deuteronomic ‘Captive Woman’ Legislation: Rape as Criminal Apotheosis
  • 2007/Dec- Association for Jewish Studies Annual Conference, Toronto
    Paper: The “One Flesh” of Conjugal Union: Nahmanides’ Eros vs. Rashi’s Functionalism
  • 2008 June- Canadian Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, UBC, Vancouver- Paper: Nahmanides on Power and the State: Exegete as Political Theorist
  • 2008 December - Association for Jewish Studies Annual Conference, Washington, DC.  Paper: The Nearness of Divine Distance: Cohen's Approximation of Maimonides' Proximity Proceedings
  • 2009/August- 15th World Congress of Jewish Studies- paperSermons in the Inferno: Theological Turmoil in R. Kalonymous Kalman Shapira’s Holy Fire.
  • 2009/Dec- Association for Jewish Studies Annual Conference, Los Angeles, Ca.
    Paper: Translating 'Spirit' and the Spirit of Translation in Maimonides, Spinoza, and Buber.
  • 2010/July - European Association of Jewish Studies, Ravenna, Italy
    Paper: R. Abraham Isaac Kook's Maimonides: A Contemporary Mystic's Subversive Embrace of a Medieval Rationalist.
  • 2010/August - International Organization for the Study of the Old Testament, Helsinki, Finland
    Paper: Narrative Hell vs. Normative Bliss of Biblical Love
  • 2010/December - Association for Jewish Studies Annual Conference, Boston: Organized session "Appropriations of Maimonides in Spinoza, Hermann, Cohen and Rav. Kook"; Presented Paper: Rav Kook's Book Beyond Knowledge: Sefer HaMadaa in a Mystical Register".
  • 2011-Shalem Institute- Jerusalem, Israel: Philosophical Investigations of the Hebrew Scriptures, Talmud, and Midrash.  Paper- “The Biblical Moment Perception: Angelic Encounter as Metaphysics”

  • 2011/Dec- Association for Jewish Studies Annual Conference, Washington,DC; Paper:- Repatriating Humanity to God: Meir Ibn Gabbai's Exegetical Subversion of Maimonides' Phiosophical Lexicon

  • 2012/May- Congress for Humanities and Social Sciences, Waterloo, Ont.: Paper- Maimonides' lover of God: Balancing the Juridical and Philosophical.

  • 2012/Aug- Shalem Institute- Jerusalem, Israel: Philosophical Investigations of the Hebrew Scriptures, Talmud, and Midrash. Paper- Prophetic Knowing Toward Death: The Silent Sounds of Dying for Others.

  • 2012/Dec.- Association for Jewish Studies Annual Conference, Chicago. Organized session on Philosophy and the Hebrew Bible: True Love or Arranged Marriage. Presented Paper-  Philosophy as a Way of Life in the Bible.

  • 2013/ July- Shalem Institute, Jerusalem, Israel: Philosophical Investigations of the Hebrew Scriptures, Talmud, and Midrash. Paper: Biblical Questioning: Philosophy Begins in Anguish.

  • 2013/Dec- Association for Jewish Studies Annual Conference, Boston. Organized session- Frank Talmage Memorial Session: The Legacy of Medieval Jewish Esotericism Presented Paper-   Tracing the Post-Maimonidean Filigree of Esotericism

  • 2014/Jul- Commentating as Philosophy and the Abrahamic Interpreters- Istanbul, Turkey- Fatih University, Plato Society, Greek & Israel Consulates. Paper- Isaac Arama’s “Nightmare” of Philosophical Commentary.

  • 2014/Jul- European Association of Jewish Studies- Paris, France. Paper- Kabbalistic Reinventions of Maimonides’ Apples of Gold Esotericism.

  • 2014/Dec- Association for Jewish Studies Annual Conference, Baltimore, USA. Organized session- Is Jewishness Whole Without Zionism? Presented PaperZionism: Essential Normatively for Jewishness, Philosophically for Humanness. 

  • 2015/June-  Freie Universitat- Berlin, Germany International Workshop- How do Jews Know: Epistemologies of Jewish Knowledge. Paper Presented- The Epistemological Value of Suffering: Rupture in the Warsaw Ghetto
  • 2015/Dec- Association for Jewish Studies Annual Conference, Boston, USA.  Paper- "What’s in a Name: Jewish Theology in Play”
  • 2016/Dec- Association for Jewish Studies Annual Conference, San Diego, CA. Paper presented- "Where Are You?": Philosophical Theology Begins in Biblical Wonder.​ Discussant- Re-Viewing the Warsaw Ghetto: Artistic, Historical, Literary, Religious Perspectives

  • 2017/Aug- World Congress of Jewish Studies. Co-organized session: “Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira: New Studies.” Paper Presented: Thought at the Crossroads: Between the Warsaw Ghetto Rebbe and Emil Fackenheim

  • 2018/Dec- Association for Jewish Studies Annual Conference, Boston
  • Paper Presented: Determining Prophetic Authenticity: A Maimonidean Reading of False Prophecy
  • 2019/Dec- Association for Jewish Studies Annual Conference, San Diego
  • Organized Session: The Maimonidean Enigma: Will the Real Maimonides Stand Up?
  • Paper Presented: The ‘Jewish’ Maimonides: Midrashist and Parshan
  • 2020/Mar.- Judaism, Science, and Medicine  Conference, Jewish Healing Through the Ages: Theories and Practices , Arizona State University
  • Paper Presented: At the Mind’s Limits: The Possibility and Impossibility of Spiritual and Emotional Healing in the Warsaw Ghetto
  • 2020/Dec- Association for Jewish Studies Annual Conference, Zoom
  • Paper- Reading Divine Emotions with Maimonides and Moderns
  • 2021/Dec- Association for Jewish Studies Annual Conference, Chicago
  • Paper: The Inexhaustible Metaphor of Light: Crescas vs Maimonides

Invited presentations

  • Sept. 2000- University of Waterloo Jewish Studies Distinguished Guest Lecture Series
    Title: Rabbinic Reflections on Living in the Shade
  • October, 2001- Multi-Faith Forum on Tragedy and Hope: Jewish/Christian / Muslim Dialogue
    Sponsored by Wilfrid Laurier Dept. of Religion and Culture
    My presentation- Jewish Responses to Tragedy
  • May, 2001- Kitchener/ Waterloo Annual Community Prayer Breakfast- Keynote Speaker
    Title: Moses: The Ethics and Anguish of Communal Leadership
  • October, 2001- Shmuel Yosef Agnon Literary Study Group- Toronto
    Title: Agnon's Kaddish- the Petihta
  • March 2002 University of Waterloo Jewish Studies Guest Lecture Series
    Title: The Sage is Greater than the Prophet: Judaism as a Religion of Freedom and Responsibility
  • November, 2002- University of Toronto
    Conference Theme- Blurred Boundaries: The Slippery Slope of Jewish Legal Status
    Paper - Maimonides: The Limits of Ethnicity as a Status Marker
  • May/04- International Conference for the 800th Anniversary of Maimonides'      Death- Jerusalem, Israel
  • Sponsors-Center for Jewish Studies, Harvard Univ.; Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem; Zalman Shazar Center for the History of Israel
    Paper- Radical Maimonidean Exegesis on Bible and Rabbinic Midrash
  • February, 2005 –Canadian Institute for Mediterranean Studies, Univ. of Toronto
    The Cairo Genizah: Reviving a Medieval Jewish Mediterranean Society from a "Battlefield "of Fragments
  • November 2005- University of Toronto:- “Sex, Status and Servitude in Judaism”
    Paper: “Pretty Woman: War Brides in Medieval Jewish Thought”.
  • May14-16 2006- University of Denver, Center for Judaic Studies
    Invited guest participant in “Decalogues: Where is God? Tracing the Sacred in Maimonides, Kabbalah and Modern Jewish Thought.”
  • May24 2006-  Northwestern University- Dept. of Philosophy & Crown Center for Jewish Studies- Invited Lecture- “Power and Corruption in the Hebrew Bible”
  • 2008/Sept.- Princeton University- Political Hebraism: Jewish Sources in the History of Political ThoughtPaper: Nahmanides on the Polis: Reading Exegesis and Kabbalah as Political Theory
  • 2010/June-University of Buffalo Institute of Jewish thought and heritage
    Paper- R. Abraham Isaac Kook's Maimonides: A Contemporary Mystic's Subversive Embrace of a Medieval Rationalist
  • 2011/May- Concordia, Montreal- Symposium on History, Memory, and Jewish Identity. Paper-  Maimonides vs. Nahmanides: The Struggle for Identity in Medieval Jewish Thought.

  • 2014/Sept- University of Toronto-  Rethinking the Covenant: Engagements with the Theology of David Novak. Paper- “Philosopher as Talmudist and Talmudist as Philosopher”

  • Oct/2015- Toronto- The Jewish Thought of Emil Fackenheim Canadian Institute for Jewish Research. Paper-  God’s Infinite Pain: Encounter Between Emil Fackenheim and the Warsaw Ghetto Rebbe.

  • Nov/2015- Canadian Institute for Mediterranean Studies. “Moses Maimonides: Why a Medieval Mediterranean Thinker Matters"

  • Nov/2015- University at Buffalo, Institute of Jewish Thought & Heritage. Paper: - Nahmanides vs Maimonides on Memory and the Shaping of   Jewish Identity.

  • Dec/2015- Herzl Institute, Jerusalem, Israel- Conference. Paper- "Divine Being or Divine Becoming: The Perfection of Imperfection"

  • Dec/2016- Templeton/ Herzl Colloquium on Jewish Philosophical Theology, Jerusalem, Israel. Seminar-Freedom From God: Jewish Philosophical Theology Unbound

  • Mar/2017- University of Toronto. Workshop: Theologians in a Jurist’s Robes: Relations between Theology and Law in the Judaeo-Islamic Milieu. Session- The Nature of Language in Maimonides’ Writings: Philosophy and Jurisprudence

  • June/2017- Jerusalem, Herzl Institute. Conference: What Does ‘Torah From Heaven’ Mean? Paper: “When is Torah Not From Heaven? Profiling the False Prophet”

  • June /2017 - Poland- Polin Museum- Workshop. R. Kalonymos Shapira: New Directions in Scholarship. Paper: “Reasoning Toward Abandoning Reason: R. Shapira Encounters Maimonides”

  • June/2017 - Frankfurt am Main, Germany  Central Council of Jews in Germany, Goethe University, Heidelberg Jewish Studies. Understanding God  in Judaism : Traditions and interpretations. Paper: “The God of the Jewish Philosophers?  Maimonides between Dogmatic Binding and Speculative Unfolding”

  • February/2018 - University of Texas at Austin- Judaism and Mental Health: Psychotherapy, Neuroscience, and the Spiritual Life. Paper- Jacob’s Melancholia: A Case Study of Maimonides on Mental Health

  • April 9-22/2018 - Center for Judaic and Inter-Religious Studies, Shandong University, Jinan, China- 6 lectures- “Medieval Interpretations of Rabbinic Texts and its  Modern Reception

  • June 13/2019 - Jewish Museum, Berlin. Do You Believe in Miracles?- Lecture Series: Science and Faith in Judaism and Islam https://www.jmberlin.de/en/lecture-series-do-you-believe-in-miracles

  • June 16-21/2019 - Tantur Ecumenical Institute, Jerusalem, Israel. ‘Wrestling With Life: Analytic Theology and Biblical Narrative’- Paper Delivered: Divine 'Regret' as God’s Withdrawal: Banishing God into the Distance. https://sites.google.com/view/biblical-narratives/home

  • February 17-18/ 2020 - Colgate University, NY, USA. Series of Lectures- Do We all Serve the Same God?

  • September 14/2020 - University of Toronto Centre for Jewish Studies. ''Raging Sermons from the Warsaw Ghetto: Retreating from Traditional Rabbinic responses to Suffereing''. 

  • May 10 - 11, 2021   Northwestern University: (Zoom conference) Religious Philosophers, Philosophical Spirits Paper: "Maimonides’ Theological Political Treatise for the Messianic Era"
  • February 13/2022- Oxford Chabad Society: United Kingdom (Zoom Conf.) Paper-'The inexhaustible Metaphor of Light: Crescas vs. Maimonides'
  • March 9/2022- Yeshiva University, NY: Aristotle, Maimonides, and the Politics of Ethics Today  https://jackmillercenter.org/event/yeshiva-university-aristotle-maimonides-politics-ethics-today/
  • June 13-14/2022- Bar Ilan University International Conference on Modern Jewish Theology 1830-1930, Tel Aviv, Israel. Paper- “Deconstructing Maimonides, Constructing Jewish Theology: Shadal vs. Rav Kook”
  • University of Pisa, Italy (March/2023), Series of Lectures on the topic of Jewish Theology Unbound: Freedom From God https://esami.unipi.it/esami2/programma.php?pg=ects&c=55028
  • Event open to University: Challenging Humanity: Philosophy Facing Biblical Crises:  A dialogue between Kenneth Seeskin and  James A. Diamond (Mar 21/2023) https://phd-filosofia.cfs.unipi.it/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Workshop21-03-2023-2.pdf
  • Conference Keynote Speaker: Maimonides Then and Now. Yeshiva University: Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies/ Center for Jewish History, New York  (Dec 17/2023). Lecture : Illuminating Maimonides : Why He Matters https://www.yu.edu/revel/eventscalendar?trumbaEmbed=view%3Devent%26eventid%3D1049239871

Academic offerings to the community

  • Winter 2000 - Mekorot Institute for Jewish Learning, 12 WEEK
    Apples of Gold in Silver Filigree: Maimonides' Guide.
  • Fall 2001 - Mekorot Institute for Jewish Learning, 4 week course
    A Walk in the Garden with Elisha Ben Abuyah: Reflections on a Rabbinic Heretic
  • April 2002 Lecture- Beth Jacob Congregation, Kitchener
    Unity: A Rabbinic Perspective
  • May 2002 Lecture- Or Chaim Congregation, Toronto
    The Moral Implications of the 'Wayward Woman' Law
  • Sept. 31 2002 Lecture- Shaar Shalom Synagogue, Toronto
    Thirteen Attributes of Selichot: Unity of God as a Model for Unity of Israel
  • November 9, 2002 Lecture- Shaarei Tefillah Congregation
    Who is a Jew? Rambam and the Convert
  • October 3, 2002 Speaking Engagement- Israel's Book Store, Toronto
    Presentation on my book- Maimonides and the Hermeneutics of Concealment
  • November 5, 2002: Lecture- Waterloo County Holocaust Education Week
    Suffering of the Innocent and the Book of Job
  • April 2003: Waterloo Jewish Community
    • April 5-6 2003: Temple Har Zion- Scholar in Residence
      1. King Josiah's Revolutionary Passover
      2. Speeding Toward Redemption: A Maimonidean Perspective
  • May-June 2003 Beth Tzedek Congregation
    • May 14 2003: Argument and Dispute: The Elixir of Judaism
    • May 20 2003: The School of Abraham vs. The School of Balaam: Which Would you Send Your Child To?
    • May 28 2003: David and Jonathan: The Consummate Love
    • June 11 2003: The Last Remaining Legacy of a Rabbinic Heretic
  • September 20 2003 - Congregation or Shalom, London, Ontario
    Scholar in Residence
  • October 15 2003 - Kolel: Adult Centre for Liberal Jewish Learning
    Reading Torah and the Rabbis with Maimonides: Religion for the Rationalist (Advanced)
  • February  2004 - Adath Israel Synagogue, Toronto
    Maimonides on Abraham and the Founding of Judaism
  • May 2004- Congregation Beth Haminyan, Toronto- The Ethics of Cursing God
  • November 2004: Kolel: The Adult Centre for Liberal Jewish Learning Advanced 4 week course on Maimonides
  • December 2004:  Torah In Motion- Beth Jacob Cong., Toronto: Maimonides Conference.  The Rambam on Abraham and Moses: Discovery and Rediscovery of Judaism
  • January 2005: Temple Emmanuelle, Toronto-  "Jewish Heresy"
  • February 2005 Congregation Beth Haminyan, Toronto- "Slavery and God as Liberator"
  • September 2005 :  Adath Israel Synagogue, Toronto. Selichot- Conversation with the Rabbi
  • May 2006:   Congregation Beth Haminyan, Toronto. “Aaron and the Theology of Silence”   
  • March 2007: Presenter- Public Panel:  Christians, Muslims, Jews: Do Our Sacred Texts Create Religious Intolerance?
  • April/May 2007: Torah in Motion 4 week course: Maimonides: Philosophy and  Halakha 
  • July 2007- Community Lecture (Torah in Motion): And Aaron was Silent: Resignation or Protest in the Face of Tragedy
  • January/February, 2008- Mekorot Institute of Jewish Learning, Toronto,  Four week course : My God, Why have You Abandoned Me: Innocent Suffering and Religious Agony
  • April 2008- Temple Anshe Shalom, Hamilton- And Aaron was Silent: Resignation or Protest in the Face of Tragedy? 
  • June 2008- Shaarei Shamayim Synagogue, Toronto: Who is A Jew- The First Conversion Controversy
  • Jan/Feb 09- Mekorot Institute of Jewish Learning, Toronto,  Four week course
    Wrestling With God: The Challenge of the Holocaust
  • Sept./2010- Torah in Motion

    R. Kook: Dancing with the Halutzim

  • Nov/2011- Mekorot Institute of Jewish Learning, Toronto,  Three week course

    "Love is as Overwhelming as Death" :The Biblical View

  •  Feb. 2-16/2012

    Holy Blossom Synagogue, “Angels: What do They teach Us?”

  • Feb 14/2013- Scholar in Residence- Congregation Darkhei Noam, New York

    Maimonides on Temple Worship

    Abraham and the Founding of Judaism

  • Mar. 15-16/2013- Scholar in Residence-  Congregation Young Israel Ohab Zedek of North Riverdale, New York

    Release Your Slaves: The First Commandment

    Elijah and the Enigma of the Fifth Cup

    What Can We Learn from  Sacrifices? Maimonides and the Case of the Korban Pesach

  • Mar. 23/2013- The Jewish Center, New York

    "Why is a Jewish  State Obligated to Wipe Out Amalek?"

  • June 3, 2014- Shaarei Shamayim Synagogue

    Boaz’s Legacy- Violating the Torah to Preserve it. 

  • Nov 24, 2014- London Jewish Community Centre

    Why Moaes Maimonides Matters

  • Feb 7, 2015-Beit HaMinyan Congregation, Toronto. Do We all Serve the Same God? The Subject of the ‘First Commandment’

  • April 17-18, 2015- West Side Institutional Synagogue New York- Scholar in Residence. Lecture #1-Why Moses Maimonides Matters. Lecture#2- Was Aaron Silent?: The First Debate Over Dying for God

  • Apr 20, 2015-  Congregation Shearith Israel, New York. Maimonides and the Shaping of the Jewish Canon

  • May 31, 2015- Alpha Omega Dental fraternity, Toronto. Maimonides: Philosopher, Scientist, Doctor- What Does He Have to Say to Us Today?

  • Mar/2016-  Congregation Ohab Zedek. Manhattan, NY. Maimonides: How to Read the Bible Philosophically

  • ​Mar 19/2016Shaarei Shamayim, Toronto- Walerstein Scholar in Residence. The Spiritual Politics of Battling Amalek

  • Mar/2016 - Jewish Centre , Manhattan, NY

    “Cherubim: Why are there Icons in the Holy of Holies?”

  • April/2016 - Congregation Darkhei Noam- Manhattan, New York. Scholar in Residence. "Parah Adumah: The Devil is in the Details," "What Was Israel’s First Commandment? The Essence of Pesach"

  • May/2016​ - Shaarei Shamayim, Toronto-  Scholar in residence - “The Chilul HaShem of Identity Politics in the Desert.”

  • June/2016 - Congregation Sons of Israel, Allentown, Pa. Scholar in Residence -“A Maimonidean Prescription for Mental Health,” “Shavuot and the Celebration of a Second Receiving of the Torah,” “Who is a Jew: Rambam and the Convert”

  • Feb/2017- Beit HaMinyan Congregation Visiting Scholar. “What’s in a Name? The Ehyeh (I will be) of Liberation”

  • May/2017- 4 lectures – Beth Tzedec Congregation, Toronto. Rereading the Rabbis: How Different Generations Understood the Wisdom of Pirkei Avot  (Philosophy; Politics; Ethics; Law)

  • May/ 2017- Shaarei Shamayim Congregation – Shavuot Lecture. Ruth Loves Naomi, Everyone Loves Her Great Grandson David: The Danger of Biblical Love

  • May/2017; Dec/2017 –The Downtown Minyan Congregation, New York. Visiting Scholar

  • Apr /2018- Partnership Minyan Congregation Toronto- Visiting Scholar. The First Debate over Dying for God


  • Curriculum Committee- Religious Studies
  • Ph.D. Committee- Religious Studies
  • Jewish Studies Committee
  • Jewish Studies Distinguished Guest Lecture Series- Coordination, Planning, Speaker Introductions
  • Member- Interdisciplinary Studies Programmes Board

Director - Friedberg Genizah Project

  • Direction and coordination of 13 teams worldwide (Princeton, Cambridge, Jewish Theological Seminary, Hebrew University, Yeshivah University) cataloguing, transcribing, translating, digitizing medieval documents discovered in the Cairo Geniza. Project now associated chiefly with University of Waterloo.

Courses taught:

  • Medieval Jewish Thought: The Challenge of Reason
  • History of Jewish Biblical Interpretation
  • Introduction to Judaism
  • Relationships in the Bible
  • Power & Corruption in the Bible
  • Judaism
  • Jewish Thought & Mysticism
  • Philosophical and Literary Responses to the Holocaust
  • Film & the Holocaust
  • Great Texts in Judaism
  • Kabbalah