Abraham Shapiro Academic Complex, 123
Departments/ProgramsHornstein Program in Jewish Professional Leadership
Near Eastern and Judaic Studies
DegreesStanford University, Ph.D.
Stanford University, M.A.
Stanford University, M.A.
Harvard University, B.A.
ExpertisePhilosophy of education. Jewish education. Hermeneutics and the epistemology of the humanities. Scholarship of teaching classical Jewish texts.
ProfileJon A. Levisohn holds the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Chair in Jewish Educational Thought at Brandeis, and directs the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education.
Levisohn studies philosophy of education and philosophy of Jewish education. His particular focus has been on the myriad ways we have of making sense of texts -- both religious texts and secular texts -- especially in the contexts of teaching and learning. He believes that we do not have appropriate language to describe what happens when we teach texts, and we do not have sufficiently nuanced theories to explain the phenomenon in its robust diversity. This is not merely an intellectual curiosity, because our lack of understanding undermines our educational efforts. It hampers our ability to articulate compelling educational goals in the humanities; it hinders the preparation of teachers; and it makes it difficult to generate powerful and textured modes of assessing student learning.
More recently, Levisohn has expanded his focus to general questions about the desired outcomes of Jewish education. Typically those outcomes are conceived in terms of the transmission of content, or the promotion of "Jewish identity," or at the communal level, in terms of the replication or continuity of the Jewish community. None of these conceptions are satisfactory. Instead, Jewish educators ought to develop a conception of the desirable outcomes of Jewish education in terms of the moral and intellectual dispositions that they seek to foster -- the virtues, as it were, of Jewish education.
|ED||159b||Philosophy of Education|
|NEJS||156b||A Philosophical Introduction to Judaism|
|NEJS||170a||Studying Sacred Texts|
|NEJS||171b||Tikkun Olam/Repairing the World: Service and Social Justice in Theory and Practice|
|NEJS||235b||Philosophy of Jewish Education|
|PHIL||148b||Philosophy of the Humanities|
Awards and Honors
Research Fellow, The Jacobson Family Foundation (2012)
Fellow, Jewish Studies Service Learning Initiative, Repair the World (2011)
Fellow, North American Scholars Circle of the Shalom Hartman Institute (2010)
Mandel Leadership Institute Visiting Fellowship (2008)
G.J. Lieberman Fellowship (2001)
Spencer Foundation Research Training Grant (2001)
Stanford Presidential Graduate Fellowship (hon.) (1997)
Wexner Foundation Graduate Fellowship (1997)
Beit Midrash Fellowship, Shalom Hartman Institute (1993)
Inter-University Fellowship in Jewish Studies (1993)
Levisohn, Jon A. "Jewish Educational Philosophy." Encyclopedia of Educational Theory and Philosophy. 2013. (forthcoming)
Levisohn, Jon A. The Interpretive Virtues: A Philosophical Enquiry into the Teaching and Learning of Historical Narratives. London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013. (forthcoming)
Levisohn, Jon A, and Fendrick, Susan P., ed. Turn It and Turn It Again: Studies in the Teaching and Learning of Classical Jewish Texts. Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2013.
Levisohn, Jon A. "Rethinking the Education of Cultural Minorities to and from Assimilation: A Perspective from Jewish Education." Diaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education (DIME) 7. 1 (2013): 54-68.
Levisohn, Jon A. "Becoming a Servant: James Kugel, Avodat Hashem, and the Dispositional Goals of Jewish Service-Learning." Journal of Jewish Communal Service 87. 1/2 (2012): 104-112.
Levisohn, Jon A. "Pursuing the Pedagogy of Peoplehood: More than Mifgash." Peoplehood Papers 8. (2012): 48-51.
Levisohn, Jon A. "Teaching Vision: Cultivating a Philosophical Disposition about Jewish Educational Practice." Journal of Jewish Education 78. 2 (2012): 135-169.
Levisohn, Jon A. "Charting the Reefs: A Map of Multicultural Epistemology." Multicultural Epistemology and Educational Theory. Ed. Claudia Ruitenberg and D.C. Phillips. Springer, 2011
Levisohn, Jon A. "A Menu of Orientations Towards the Teaching of Rabbinic Literature." Journal of Jewish Education 76. 1 (2010).
Levisohn, Jon A. "Do We Know an Orientation When We See It? Continuing the Conversation about the Teaching of Rabbinic Literature." Journal of Jewish Education 76. 3 (2010).
Levisohn, Jon A. "Negotiating Historical Narratives: An Epistemology of History for History Education." Journal of Philosophy of Education 44. 1 (2010).
Levisohn, Jon A. "Should Jewish Day Schools Aspire to Create Educated Jews?." HaYidion Spring 2010. (2010): 12-14, 50.
Levisohn, Jon A. "Community as a Means and an End in Jewish Education." Jewish Day Schools, Jewish Communities: A Reconsideration. Ed. A. Pomson and H. Dietcher. London: Littman Library, 2009
Levisohn, Jon A. "Experience Has Ways of Boiling Over: Pursuing a Pragmatic Pedagogy of Bible." Journal of Jewish Education 75. 3 (2009).
Levisohn, Jon A. "From the Integration of Curricula to the Pedagogy of Integrity." Journal of Jewish Education 74:3. (2009).
Levisohn, Jon A. "How Can We Enact Our Responsibility to the Historical Referent?." Philosophy of Education (2009).
Levisohn, Jon A. "Building Bridges to Overcome Breaches: School and Academy, Content and Pedagogy, Scholarship and Teaching." South Atlantic Philosophy of Education Society (SAPES) Yearbook (2008).
Levisohn, Jon A. "Introducing the Contextual Orientation to Bible: A Comparative Study." Journal of Jewish Education 73. 3 (2008).
Levisohn, Jon A. "Jewish Education in Pursuit of Virtue." Teaching Toward Tomorrow: Setting an Agenda for Modern Orthodox Education. Ed. Yoel Finkelman. Jerusalem: ATID, 2008
Levisohn, Jon A. "Richard Rorty and the Ethics of Anti-foundationalism." The Space of Love and Garbage and Other Essays from the Harvard Review of Philosophy.. Ed. S. Phineas Upham. Chicago: Open Court, 2008
Levisohn, Jon A. "Strengthening Research on the Pedagogy of Jewish Studies." Journal of Jewish Education 73. 3 (2008).
Levisohn, Jon A. "Extending the Conversation on Visions of Jewish Education." Journal of Jewish Education (2006).
Levisohn, Jon A. "What is Bridging Scholarship and Pedagogy?." (2006): <http://www.brandeis.edu/mandel/projects/bridginginitiative_docs.html>.
Levisohn, Jon A. "How to do philosophy of religious education." Religious Education (2005): 90-101.
Levisohn, Jon A. "Ideas and Ideals in Jewish Education: Initiating a Conversation on Visions in Jewish Education." Journal of Jewish Education (2005).
Levisohn, Jon A. "Patriotism and Parochialism: Why Teach American Jewish History, and How?." Journal of Jewish Education (2005).
Levisohn, Jon A., Jewish Educational Leadership. "A Plea for Purposes." Jewish Educational Leadership (2005).
Levisohn, Jon A. "Probing Pragmatism: Rorty, Reforms, and Responsibility." Philosophy of Education (2004).
Levisohn, Jon A. "Religious Experience as a Jewish Educational Ideal." Journal of Jewish Education (2004).
Levisohn, Jon A., Philosophy of Education. "Young Patriots or Junior Historians?." Philosophy of Education (2003).
Levisohn, Jon A. "Stories about Stories about History." Philosophy of Education (2002).
Levisohn, Jon A. "The Interpretive Virtues in Historiography and History Education." Diss. Stanford University, 2002.
Levisohn, Jon A. "Openness and Commitment: Hans-Georg Gadamer and the Teaching of Jewish Texts." Journal of Jewish Education 67. (2001).
Levisohn, Jon A.. "Inclusion and Objectivity: Helen Longino's Feminist Theory of Scientific Inquiry." Philosophy of Education (2001).