Library
"Envisioning Jewish Education"
A Biography of the Word "Vision"
How "Vision" is Used in the VJEP
"The Project in Operation"
Isadore Twersky, "What Must a Jew Study - And Why?"
Moshe Greenberg, "We Were as Those Who Dream: An Agenda for an Ideal Jewish Education"
Menachem Brinker, "Jewish Studies in Israel from a Liberal-Secular Perspective"
Michael Meyer, "Reflections on the Educated Jew from the Perspective of Reform Judaism"
Michael Rosenak, "Educated Jews: Common Elements"
Rosenak Values Curriculum
Israel Scheffler, "The Concept of the Educated Person: With Some Applications to Jewish Education
Seymour Fox, "The Art of Translation"
Fox, "Prolegomenon"
Daniel Marom, "Before the Gates of the School"
Marom, "The Grandeur of Judaism"
Twersky Continued Study
Israel Prize in Bible: Moshe Greenberg
Daniel Marom, Content Analysis

Please note: Some of the materials in the Visions of Jewish Education Project library require a password for access. If you do not have a password and are interested in studying these materials, please contact the project at: visions@mli.org.il .

 

Further Reading: Moshe Greenberg

 

About Greenberg

Moshe Greenberg is Professor of Bible, Emeritus, at the Hebrew University, where he held the Professor Yitzhak Becker Chair in Jewish Studies.  He was awarded the Israel Prize for Bible in 1994.  Ordained as a rabbi at The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, he contributed to the Bible curriculum project of the Melton Research Center for Jewish Education and served as a scholar-in-residence at Camp Ramah.  He has also been an advisor on Bible curriculum to the Ministry of Education in Israel and was cofounder and coeditor of Mikra le-Yisrael, an Israeli Bible commentary series.

The essay "Moshe Greenberg: An Appreciation," which describes Greenberg's influences, and the goals and accomplishments of his career in Bible scholarship and teaching, appears in Tehillah le-Moshe: Biblical and Judaic Studies in Honor of Moshe Greenberg, ed. Mordechai Cogan, Barry Eichler, and Jeffrey Tigay (Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns, 1997).

Seymour Fox described Greenberg as a model scholar for a conception of Jewish education that is in conversation with scholarship. His essay
"פרופסור משה גרינברג" - המלומד ותרומתו לחינוך  was published in הבנת המקרא בימינו: סוגיות בהוראתו (Studies in Jewish Education, vol. 9, Understanding the Bible in Our Times: Implications for Education), eds. Marla Frankel and Howard Deitcher (The Melton Center for Jewish Education) (Jerusalem: The Hebrew University Magnes Press, 2003).

A summary of Greenberg's work (in Hebrew) was published at the time of his being awarded the Israel Prize in Bible in 1994.

A bibliography of Greenberg's publications appears in Tehillah le-Moshe: Biblical and Judaic Studies in Honor of Moshe Greenberg, ed. Mordechai Cogan, Barry Eichler, and Jeffrey Tigay (Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns, 1997).

Greenberg's Theory of Religion

 

As Greenberg explains in "We Were As Those Who Dream: An Agenda for an Ideal Jewish Education" (Visions of Jewish Education page 131, note 2), his approach to Jewish sources is that of "the study of religion, which appreciates religion as a phenomenon inherent in human nature." "I do affirm," writes Greenberg, "that it is within the capacity of the foundational books of Judaism to meet the spiritual needs naturally ingrained in the learner's soul." Greenberg's article "Al Zehut, Tevunah ve-Dat" presents his conception of religion and spirituality. The paper was originally presented to a secular Israeli audience and published in his collection of Hebrew essays, Al ha-Mikra ve-al ha-Yahadut (Tel Aviv: Am Oved, 1984).

Greenberg's theory of religion draws on Wilfred Cantwell Smith's conception of religion as symbolism, which Smith explains in "Religion as Symbolism," published in the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Greenberg includes as one of the primary goals of Jewish education "the recognition that the moral precepts of the Torah can serve as a guide for our time," emphasizing that students who are successful in accomplishing this goal "will not need to turn to foreign sources for principles of morality" (Visions of Jewish Education pages 125-26). Greenberg clarifies, however, that Judaism can fruitfully interact with the values of other cultures, and bring them in to the Jewish conversation. As an illustration, he refers to an article by his father, Simon Greenberg, "Judaism and the Democratic Ideal," published in Simon Greenberg, Foundations of a Faith (New York: The Burning Bush Press, 1967).

Greenberg builds on several essays in making his point about "the morality of the Bible and of Judaism and its problems" (Visions of Jewish Education page 132, note 5). He refers to the following sources:

Leon Roth, "Ha-Tenudah ha-Mussarit be-Etikah ha-Yehudit" in Ha-Dat ve-Erkhei ha-Hayyim (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1973); an English translation of this article, "Moralization and Demoralization in Jewish Ethics," was published in Judaism (volume 11, Fall 1962).

S. H. Bergman, "Harhavah ve-Tzimtzum be-Etikah ha-Yehudit" in Ha-Shamayim ve-ha-Aretz: Hegyonot al Ahrayuto shel ha-Adam (Tel Aviv: Shdemot, 1969)

Moshe Greenberg, "Atem Keruyim Adam..." in Al ha-Mikra ve-al ha-Yahadut (Tel Aviv: Am Oved, 1984)

Moshe Greenberg, "Keitzad Yesh Lidrosh et ha-Torah ba-Zman ha-Zeh" in Ha-Segulah ve-ha-Koah (Tel Aviv: Oranim Sifriyat Poalim / HaKibbutz HaMe'uhad, 1986)

Greenberg posits that the State of Israel provides an appropriate setting for the actualization of his vision of Jewish education. See his essay "The Task of Masorti Judaism" in Deepening the Commitment: Zionism and the Conservative / Masorti Movement, ed. J. S. Ruskay and D. M. Szonyi (New York: The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1990).

Symbols in Jewish Religion: Greenberg's Examples

 

Prayer: "Greenberg suggested that religion be viewed as a storehouse of symbols and directed us to a theory of symbols as mediators between the here and now and the transcendent realm. For him, Judaism is a religion that has responded to the spiritual needs of Jews and has the capacity to do so now and in the future" (Visions of Jewish Education page 133). Greenberg discusses prayer in this context in his Biblical Prose Prayer as a Window to the Popular Religion of Ancient Israel (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983), pages 47-52.

Culture: In deliberations with scholars and educators about his conception, Greenberg presented a definition of culture and its relation to "universal questions" (see "Supplement: Moshe Greenberg" in Visions of Jewish Education pages 136-39). He responded, in particular, to the idea of "post-Zionism" in Israeli culture, and to an article by Joseph Dan published in Haaretz (March 25, 1994). See Joseph Dan, "Al Post-Tzionut, al Ivrit she Ozen ve-al Meshihiut shel Shav"

Text study: Greenberg's "On Teaching the Bible in Religious Schools" in Jewish Education 29:3 (1959) illustrates his claim that the role of the teacher of Bible is to recognize in its texts "a significant, possible position on ultimate religious problems" (page 45).

Commentary: According to Greenberg, modern critical scholarship on the Bible belongs to the history of commentary and authentically continues the tradition of parshanut. He describes the history of commentary and its meaning for Jewish life in "Exegesis" in his Studies in the Bible and Jewish Thought (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 1995).

A challenge to Greenberg's views of text study arose when educators questioned his faith in this Jewish symbol given its misappropriation by fundamentalists (see Visions of Jewish Education pages 142-45). His essay "A Problematic Heritage: The Attitude Toward the Gentile in the Jewish Tradition - An Israel Perspective" answers this critique. It was published in Conservative Judaism 48:2 (1996).

 

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