Mittleman Named New Chair of Department of Philosophy

Press Contact: Nina Jacobson
Office: (212) 678-8950

August 6, 2007, New York, NY

Dr. Alan Mittleman, professor of Jewish Philosophy at The Jewish Theological Seminary and director of its Louis Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies, has been named chair of JTS’s Department of Jewish Philosophy. The announcement was made by Dr. Alan Cooper, provost of JTS. Dr. Mittleman succeeds Rabbi Neil Gillman, who retired on June 30 but who will continue to teach part time at JTS.

Dr. Mittleman is the author of three books: Between Kant and Kabbalah (SUNY Press, 1990), The Politics of Torah (SUNY Press, 1996), and The Scepter Shall Not Depart From Judah (Rowman & Littlefield, 2000). A fourth book, Uneasy Allies? Jewish-Evangelical Relations (Lexington Books) is due out later this summer.

He is also the editor of Jewish Polity and American Civil Society (Rowman & Littlefield, 2002), Jews and the American Public Square (Rowman & Littlefield, 2002), and Religion as a Public Good (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003). Dr. Mittleman’s many articles, essays, and reviews have appeared in such journals as Harvard Theological Review, Modern Judaism, the Jewish Political Studies Review, the Journal of Religion, and First Things. He is a contributor to The Cambridge Companion to American Judaism. His current project is a book on the philosophical and theological dimensions of hope in democratic political theory, under contract with Oxford University Press.

As director of the Finkelstein Institute, Dr. Mittleman brings programs at the intersection of religion and public affairs to JTS and the general community. Since 1938, the Finkelstein Institute has maintained an innovative interfaith and inter group relations program that emphasizes conversation among diverse communities about matters of public significance. It sponsors conferences on the theoretical, political, and theological dimensions of the controversial role of religion in liberal democracies, both in the United States and abroad, examining issues including the role of virtue in liberal societies and the place of religion in national self-definition. The Institute also sponsors conferences on the separation of church and state and bioethical issues such as stem cell research and cloning.

Dr. Mittleman served as professor of religion at Muhlenberg College from 1988 to 2004. He is a member of several learned societies and is a fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. From 2000 to 2004, Dr. Mittleman served as director of the major research project "Jews and the American Public Square," which was initiated by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Dr. Mittleman has been an active participant in interfaith dialogue throughout his career and has been interviewed by Time, Newsweek, the New York Times, and USA Today, among other periodicals, and has appeared on Fox News. He was also part of a leadership delegation that met with Pope John Paul II. Dr. Mittleman served as visiting professor of Religion at Princeton University in 2007. He holds a BA from Brandeis University and an MA and PhD from Temple University.

Editors/Reporters: For further information or to schedule an interview with Dr. Mittleman, please contact Sherry Kirschenbaum in the Department of Communications at (212) 678-8953 or

Founded in 1886 as a rabbinical school, The Jewish Theological Seminary today is the academic and spiritual center of Conservative Judaism worldwide, encompassing a world–class library and five schools. JTS trains tomorrow's religious, educational, academic and lay leaders for the Jewish community and beyond.