ICS Calendar Title: Community, Faith and Judgement: Hannah Arendt and Religious Critique

ICS Course Code: ICS 220502 F16

Instructor: Dr. Ronald A. Kuipers

Term and Year: Thursdays, 1:30-4:30, Fall 2016

Last Updated: June 8, 2016


1. Course Description

2. Reading Schedule

3. Course Requirements

4. Description and Weighting of Elements to be Evaluated

5. Required Readings

6. Some Recommended Readings

1. Course Description

This seminar explores Hannah Arendt’s reflections on judgment, especially as these were shaped by her experience reporting for The New Yorker at the 1961 war crimes trial of Adolf Eichmann. After exploring the issues Arendt raises in Eichmann in Jerusalem, and before turning to her most mature reflections on the theme of judgment in particular, we will examine Arendt's understanding of the human situation "between past and future" in the essay collection that bears the same name. These essays will help contextualize Arendt's last (and uncompleted) reflections on judgment as that 'faculty' which might yet help us think and act in unprecedented social and political situations where traditional wisdom has collapsed and universal rules have proved incapable of providing moral guidance. Arendt asks how we can come to understand our time, with its unprecedented crimes, and thereby reconcile ourselves to (without condoning) our past and present. Such understanding is essential, she says, if we are to be able to take up the possibility of an alternative future path amidst the various crises of culture, tradition, and authority that characterize modern existence. This exploration will finally lead us to Arendt's latest thoughts concerning judging specifically, a subject which she intended to form the subject matter of her third, uncompleted, volume of The Life of the Mind. In looking at the material collected in the volume Responsibility and Judgment, we will also ask what members of specifically religious communities might learn from Arendt's reflections (a question Arendt does not herself ask): Are faith communities prone to fostering ideological formations that inhibit their members' capacity to engage in the kind of thinking that Arendt says is a necessary condition of our ability to judge? Should members of faith communities be held responsible for engaging (or failing to engage) in the task of critical self-reflection? How do the beliefs and actions of different religious communities contribute to the ability of their members to become effective judges of a world that is shared and constituted by a plurality of persons who are members of different communities? How might Arendt's insights help religious adherents rediscover the spiritual and intellectual resources of their traditions that could awaken hope and reveal novel possibility for action?

2. Reading Schedule

1: Sept. 15

            5 pp.


  • Ronald Beiner, section 3 of his “Interpretive Essay” (“Judging Eichmann”) in Hannah Arendt, Lectures on Kant’s Political Philosophy

2: Sept. 22

             52 pp.


Eichmann in Jerusalem I

  • Chs. 1-3.

3: Sept. 29

             57 pp.


Eichmann in Jerusalem II

  • Chs. 7, 8, 10

4: Oct. 6

             43 pp.


Eichmann in Jerusalem III

  • Chs. 12, 14-15.


5: Oct. 13

             45 pp.


Eichmann in Jerusalem IV

  • Epilogue and Postscript.

6: Oct. 20

             53 pp.

Between Past and Future I

  • Introduction, by Jerome Kohn
  • Preface: The Gap Between Past and Future
  • Ch. 1: Tradition and the Modern Age

Oct. 24-28

Reading Week--no class

7: Nov. 3

             50 pp.

*Paper outline due

Between Past and Future II

  • Ch 2:  The Concept of History: Ancient and Modern

8: Nov. 10

              51 pp.

Between Past and Future III

  • Ch. 3:  What is Authority?


9: Nov. 17

              43 pp.

Between Past and Future IV

  • Ch. 4:  What is Freedom?
  • Ch. 5:  The Conquest of Space and the Stature of Man


10: Nov. 24

              54 pp.

Responsibility and Judgment I

  • Introduction, by Jerome Kohn
  • Personal Responsibility under Dictatorship.


11: Dec. 1

              48 pp.

Responsibility and Judgment II

  • Some Questions of Moral Philosophy (Parts I-II).


12: Dec. 8

              50 pp.

Responsibility and Judgment III

  • Some Questions of Moral Philosophy (Parts III-IV)


13: Dec. 15

              48 pp.

Responsibility and Judgment IV

  • Thinking and Moral Considerations
  • Home to Roost


3. Course Requirements

Total reading: 1250 pages, including research for paper, of which approximately 40-60 pages per week is required to prepare for class.

In-seminar leadership: Two class presentations, as follows:

Presentation 1: A presentation of the in-class reading assignment. The presentation will begin with 1) the statement of a “burning question” that arises from your reading of the text. The statement of this question will be followed by 2) a citation of those portions of the text from which the question arises. After citing these texts you will 3) provide a close exegesis or “unpacking” of these particular texts. Then you will 4) reflect on whether this exegesis has helped you answer your burning question, and how, and whether or not any outstanding issues remain (or new issues have arisen). If so, state them. Finally, 5) conclude with the provision of questions for further discussion.

Presentation 2: A presentation to be organized around a concrete example of a particular religious community’s effort (or lack thereof) to exercise effective judgment. This exercise calls for you to apply what you are learning about Arendt on judgment to particular cases arising in the life of religious communities. The examples you choose may be from any part of worldwide religious culture, and may also explore whether or not these examples bear witness to the availability of critical resources in religious culture that Arendt herself neglects or fails to emphasize.

Course paper:  One course paper whose theme arises from in-class reading and discussion.  Length:  Master’s: 3000-6000 words; Doctoral: 5000-7000 words.  A substantive outline, including tentative thesis statement (50-100 words), outline, and proposed extra reading is due on Thursday Nov. 3, 2016.  The paper is due on Friday, January 27, 2017.

4. Description and Weighting of Elements to be Evaluated

ICS Students: Class Participation: 10%; Presentation 1: 15%; Presentation 2: 20%; Paper: 55%

TST Students: Class Participation: 10%; Presentation 1: 20%; Presentation 2: 20%; Paper: 50%

5. Required Readings

*Note: Items on the ICS Library Reserve Shelf from this list may be borrowed overnight.

Arendt, Hannah. 1963. Eichmann in Jerusalem:  A Report on the Banality of Evil. New York: Penguin. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: DD247 .E5 A7 2006]

    ___. 2003. Responsibility and Judgment. New York: Schocken Books. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: JA79 .A73 2003]

    ___. 2006. Between Past and Future. New York: Penguin. [Enl. ed., 1977 ICS Library Reserve Shelf: D16.8 .A65 1977]

6. Some Recommended Readings

*Note: Items on the ICS Library Reserve Shelf from this list may be borrowed for 5 days.

Allen, Amy, ed. 2008. Hannah Arendt. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate.  (A critical collection of secondary essays on various aspects of Arendt’s thought). [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: JC251.A74 H316 2008]

Allison, Henry E. 2001. Kant’s Theory of Taste: A Reading of the Critique of Aesthetic Judgment. New York: Cambridge University Press. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B2784 .A45 2001 ; Pratt Library: B2784 .A45 2001]

Arendt, Hannah. 1982. Lectures on Kant's Political Philosophy. Ed. Ronald Beiner. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.[ICS Library Reserve Shelf: JC181 .K3 A7]

_____. 1994. Religion and Politics. In Essays in Understanding, 1930-54. Ed. Jerome Kohn. New York: Harcourt Brace & Co. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B 945 .A691 2005]

_____. 1996. Love and Saint Augustine. Eds. Joanna Vecchiarelli Scott and Judith Cheluis Stark. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BV4639 .A64 1996]

_____. 1998. The Human Condition. 2nd Edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.[ICS Library Reserve Shelf: HM211 .A7 1998]

Beiner, Ronald. 1983: Political Judgment. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. [ROBA: JA74 .B45 1983]

Beiner, Ronald and Jennifer Nedelsky, eds. 2001. Judgment, Imagination, and Politics: Themes from Kant and Arendt. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield. [ICS Library Reserve: JA71 .J836 2001]

Bernauer, James, ed. 1987. Amor Mundi: Explorations in the Faith and Thought of Hannah Arendt. Boston: Martinus Nijhoff. [ROBA:JC251 .A74 A46 1987]

Benhabib, Seyla. 1996. The Reluctant Modernism of Hannah Arendt. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: JC251.A74 B45 2003]

Bowen-Moore, Patricia. 1989. Hannah Arendt’s Philosophy of Natality. New York: St. Martin’s Press. [ROBA: B908 .A744 B69 1989]

Butler, Judith. 2011. Is Judaism Zionism? In The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere. Eds. Eduardo Mendieta, et. al. New York: Columbia University Press. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BL98.5 .P69 2011]

Disch, Lisa. 1995. Hannah Arendt and the Limits of Philosophy. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: JC251 .A74 D57 1994 ; ROBA: JC251 .A74 D57 1994X]

Henrich, Dieter. 1992. Aesthetic Judgment and the Moral Image of the World: Studies in Kant. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992. [ROBA: B2784 .H46 1992]

Irwin, Christopher. 2015. Reading Hannah Arendt as a Biblical Thinker. In Sophia 54/4 (December): 545-61. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf ; UofT Libraries e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/7755989 ]

Kant, Immanuel. 1987. Critique of Judgment. Trans. Werner S. Pluhar. Indianapolis: Hackett. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B2783 .E5 B52]

Kohn, Jerome, ed. 2007. Hannah Arendt’s Centenary: Political and Philosophical Perspectives. New York: New School for Social Research. (A two-volume special edition of the journal Social Research,  v. 74, no. 3-4.) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: JC251 .A74 H35 v.1-2]

Kristeva, Julia. 2001. Hannah Arendt. Trans. Ross Guberman. New York: Columbia University Press. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: JC251 .A74 K75 2001]

Kuipers, Ronald A. 2010. Amor Mundi in a (Post) Liberal Era: The Relevance of an Arendtian Theme for Christian Self-Understanding Today. In Crossroad Discourses Between Christianity and Culture. Eds. Jerald D. Gort, et. al. Amsterdam: Editions Rodopi: 85-106. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BR115 .C8 C758 2010]

Linn, Ruth. 2004. Escaping Auschwitz: A Culture of Forgetting. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. [ROBA: D804.3 .L57 2004X]

Makkreel, Rudolf A. 1990. Imagination and Interpretation in Kant: The Hermeneutical Import of the Critique of Judgment. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B2784 .M27 1990 ; ROBA: B2784 .M27 1990]

Nedelsky, Jennifer. 2000. Communities of Judgment and Human Rights. In Theoretical Inquiries in Law.[ICS Library Reserve Shelf ; UofT Libraries e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/7759728 ]

Nye, Andrea. 1994. Philosophia: The Thought of Rosa Luxemburg, Simone Weil, and Hannah Arendt. New York: Routledge. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B105 .W6 N84 1994 ; ROBA: B105 .W6 N84 1994]

Shepherd, Lorraine McKenzie. 2002. Feminist Theologies for a Postmodern Church: Diversity, Community, and Scripture. New York: Peter Lang. [ROBA: BR118 .S48 2002]

Villa, Dana R. 1999. Politics, Philosophy, Terror:  Essays on the Thought of Hannah Arendt. Princeton: Princeton University Press. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: JC251 .A74 V57 1999]

_____. 2001. Hannah Arendt: Modernity, Alienation, and Critique.  In Beiner and Nedelsky. [ICS Library Reserve: JA71 .J836 2001]

Villa, Dana ed. 2000. The Cambridge Companion to Hannah Arendt. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: JC251 .A74 C22 2000; ROBA: JC251 .A74 C22 2000]

Young-Ah Gottlieb, Susannah. 2003. Regions of Sorrow: Anxiety and Messianism in Hannah Arendt and W.H. Auden. Stanford: Stanford University Press. [ROBA: B 945 .A694 G68 2003X]

Young-Bruehl, Elisabeth. 1982. Hannah Arendt: For Love of the World. Second Edition. New Haven: Yale University Press. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: JC251 .A74 Y68 1982 ; ROBA: JC251 .A74 Y68 1982]

_____. 2006. Why Arendt Matters. New Haven: Yale University Press.[ICS Library Reserve Shelf: JC251 .A74 Y69 2006 ; ROBA: JC251 .A74 Y69 2006X]

Students with diverse learning styles and needs are welcome in this course. In particular, if you have a disability/health consideration that may require accommodations, please feel free to approach me and/or Student Services as soon as possible.

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