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Lenn E. Goodman

Professor of Philosophy
Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities

Research Area

His philosophical interests center on metaphysics and ethics, and he has paid special attention over the years to Islamic and Jewish philosophical thought and their creative interactions. Goodman was a winner of the American Philosophical Association Baumgardt Memorial Prize and was a rare Humanities Recipient of Vanderbilt University's top research award, the Earl Sutherland prize.

He has written philosophical essays on most of the major figures of Islamic and Jewish philosophy and on a variety of topics in political philosophy, biophilosophy, and the theory of knowledge and culture. He serves on the editorial boards of History of Philosophy Quarterly and Medieval Philosophy and Theology. He is an associate editor of Asian Philosophy. He has served as Vice President and Program Chair of the Institute for Islamic/Judaic Studies. He has also served as program chair for the APA panels of the Academy for Jewish Philosophy. He was Jewish Philosophy subject editor of the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy and is a fellow of the Academy for Jewish Philosophy.

Professor Goodman has also contributed to the Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, the Oxford Companion to Philosophy, the Blackwell's Companion to the Philosophy of Religion, the Companion Encyclopedia of Asian Philosophy, as well as other works of reference. In 2008 Oxford University Press published Goodman's Gifford lectures under the title Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself.

Click here for an interview with Lenn Goodman.


Metaphysics, Ethics, Islamic and Jewish, Political, Medieval

Representative publications


The Holy One of Israel (Oxford, 2019)
Judaism: A Contemporary Philosophical Investigation (Routledge, 2017)
Religious Pluralism and Values in the Public Sphere (Cambridge University Press, 2014) The NDPR review can be found here
Coming to Mind: The Soul and its Body co-authored with D. Gregory Caramenico (University of Chicago Press, 2013)
Creation and Evolution (Routledge, 2010)
The Case of the Animals vs Man before the King of the Jinn, with Richard McGregor, critical edition and new translation from the Arabic of the 10th century ecological fable of the Ikwan al-Safa or Brethren of Purity (London: Oxford University Press, 2009)
Tufayl's Hayy Ibn Yaqzan, updated edition (University of Chicago Press, 2009).
Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself (Oxford University Press, 2008)
Islamic Humanism (Oxford University Press, 2003)
In Defense of Truth: A Pluralistic Approach (Humanity Press, 2001)
Jewish and Islamic Philosophy: Crosspollinations in the Classic Age (Edinburgh University Press and Rutgers University Press, 1999) 
Judaism, Human Rights and Human Values (Oxford University Press, 1998)
God of Abraham (Oxford University Press, 1996) (winner of the Gratz Centennial Prize, 1997)
Avicenna (Updated edition, Cornell University Press, 2005)
On Justice (Yale University Press, 1991), updated paperback edition (Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2008) 
And translations with commentary of such Arabic classics as: Saadiah's Book of Theodicy (commentary on the book of Job (Yale University Press, 1988). Rambam: The Philosophical Writings of Maimonides (Viking, 1976).

Edited Volumes

Maimonides and His Heritage (co-edited with Idit Dobbs-Weinstein and James A. Grady, SUNY Press, 2009) 
Aristotle's Politics Today (co-edited with Robert Talisse, SUNY Press, 2007)
Jewish Themes in Spinoza's Philosophy (co-edited with Heidi Ravven, SUNY Press, 2002)
Neoplatonism and Jewish Thought (SUNY Press, 1992)

Article Links

Ibn Khaldūn and the Immanence of Judgment, Philosophy East and West 69, 2019. Darwin's Heresy, Philosophy 94, 2019.
An Idea Is Not Something Mute like a Picture on a Pad, The Review of Metaphysics 62, 2009.
Context, Philosophy East and West 38, 1988.
Creation and Emanation, Cambridge History of Jewish Philosophy from Antiquity through the Seventeenth Century, ed. S. Nadler and T. Rudavsky, 2008.
The Diodorean Modalities and the Master Argument, Essays on Aristotle’s Dialectic, ed. Mui Sim, Lexington Books, 1999.
Is there a Feminist Biology?, International Journal of Women’s Studies 4, 1981.
The Greek Impact on Arabic Literature, Cambridge History of Arabic Literature: Arabic Literature to the End of the Umayyad Period, Cambridge University Press, 1984.
Judah Halevi, History of Jewish Philosophy, ed. Daniel Frank and Oliver Leaman, Routledge, 1997.
Leibniz and Futurity: Was it all over with Adam?, Leibniz and Adam, ed. M. Dascal and E. Yakira, University Publishing, 1993.
Maimonidean Naturalism, Maimonides and the Sciences, ed. R. S. Cohen and H. Levine, Kluwer, 2000.
Maimonides and Leibniz, Journal of Jewish Studies 31, 1980.
Matter and Form as Attributes of God in Maimonides' Philosophy, A Straight Path: Studies in Honor of Arthur Hyman, Catholic University of America Press, 1987.
May You Live to be 150!, Society 46, 2009.
Mosaic Liberalism, Studies in Memory of Ze’ev Falk, ed. M. Corinaldo, M. D. Herr, R. Horwitz and Y. D. Silman, Mesharim, 2005. 
Ordinary & Extraordinary Language in Medieval Jewish & Islamic Philosophy, Manuscrito 11, 1988.
'Particularly Amongst the Sunburnt Nations...' - The Persistence of Sexual Stereotypes of Race in Bio-Science, International Journal of Group Tensions19, 1989.
The Perils of Public Intellectualism, Society 46, 2009.
Prescriptivity, Jewish Philosophy and Jewish Thought 5, 1996.
The Psychology of the Rambam and Halevi, Maimonides: Conservatism, Originality, Revolution, ed. A. Ravitzky, Zalman Shazar Center for Jewish History, 2008.
R~Z, Encyclopedia of Islam, ed. K. Lorenz, DeGruyter, 1993.
The Rational and Irrational in Jewish and Islamic Philosophy, Rationality in Question: On Eastern and Western Views of Rationality, ed. S. Biderman and B. Scarfstein, Brill, 1989.
Respect for Nature, Judaism and Ecology: Created World and Revealed Word, ed. H. Tirosh-Samuelson, Harvard University Press, 2002.
Saadiah Gaon's Interpretive Technique in Translating the Book of Job, Translation of Scripture in Jewish Quarterly Review supplement, ed. D. M. Goldenberg, 1990.
Science and God, Society 45, 2008.
Supernovas: The Dialectic of Celebrity in Society, Society 47, 2010.
Time in Islam, Asian Philosophy 2, 1992.
Tragedy and Triumphalism, Political Theology 12, 2011.
The Translation of Greek Materials into Arabic, Cambridge History of Arabic Literature: Religion, Learning and Science in the Abbasid Period, Cambridge University Press, 1990.
Value and the Dynamics of Being, Review of Metaphysics 61, 2007.


The Self-Taught Philosopher: How a 900-year-old Arabic tale inspired the Enlightenment, Interview with Avner Ben-Zaken (16 May 2017)
On Judaism: A Contemporary Philosophical Investigation, Interview with Chris Benda (13 December 2016)
Big Questions Playlist, Interview with the Special Divine Actions Project of Oxford University (October 2016)
Interview with Dan Schneider on God and Time (18 November 2016)
A Video Interview of Dr Goodman about The Case of the Animals vs Man before the King of the Jinn (Oxford University Press, 2009) 
A Conversation on Creation and Evolution with Philip Kitcher at the Jewish Theological Seminary.
"Maimonidies Reads the Muslim Philosophers." at the Institute of Jewish Thought and Heritage, SUNY-Buffalo, April 8, 2010. (scroll down for video)
"Genesis and Philosophy" at The Institute of Jewish Thought and Heritage, SUNY-Buffalo, April 8, 2010. (scroll down for video)
Interview with Chris Benda on Creation and Evolution (Routledge, 2010). (podcast) 
Bogitsh Lecture: “Love: Does God Make a Difference?” March 18, 2013.
"The Animals Speak Out: Giving Voice to the Animal Kingdoms in The Case of the Animals vs Man before the King of the Jinn," Harvard Islamic Studies Center, April 5, 2013.
"The Judaic Basis for Natural Law: A Philosophical Perspective on the Inherent Sanctity of Morality," Oxford University Chabad Society. 

Downloadable photo of Lenn Goodman.