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The Bible, the Talmud, and the American Founding

Harvard’s Eric Nelson discusses the role of classical religious texts in the founding principles of the United States

Eric Nelson
Eric Nelson

When we think of the roots of American liberty and attitudes towards monarchy, we usually think of classically trained statesmen pondering the glories of Athens and Rome. But what if I told you that in fact, the two most important sources undergirding the American Founding were: the Bible…and the Talmud?

In today’s episode, Rabbi Ari brings on Harvard’s Eric Nelson to talk about the revival of Hebrew learning among Christians during the Renaissance; the origins of the idea, popular during the American Revolution, that monarchy is idolatry; the role that royalism played in American thought; the benefits and pitfalls of technocracy in contemporary America; how to study important texts that seem inaccessible; and much more! Listen here:

About Good Faith Effort: The Hebrew Bible is every bit America’s moral founding document as the Constitution is our political founding document. Every week, Rabbi Dr. Ari Lamm speaks with thinkers, writers, artists, and faith leaders to explore how the Bible continues to inform our lives today, from politics to psychology to pop culture, bringing Americans of different traditions and persuasions closer together as so much else threatens to pull us apart.

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