Geoffrey Claussen

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
Spence Pavilion-Religion/Phil. 211
2340 Campus Box
Elon, NC 27244 (336) 278-5253

Brief Biography

Geoffrey Claussen joined the Elon faculty in August 2011 as an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies. In April 2012, he was named the Lori and Eric Sklut Emerging Scholar in Jewish Studies.  He is also the founding director of Elon's Jewish Studies program, which launched in Fall 2012.

Prof. Claussen's courses explore the history of the Jewish tradition, from the Hebrew Bible to contemporary Judaism. His primary research interests are in Jewish ethics, with a focus on the legacy of the nineteenth-century Musar movement. Before arriving at Elon, he served as a Visiting Instructor at Oberlin College and as a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia.


  • Ph.D. in Jewish Thought, 2011, Jewish Theological Seminary, New York, NY.  Dissertation: “Rabbi Simhah Zissel Ziv: The Moral Vision of a 19th Century Musar Master."
  • M.Phil. in Jewish Thought, Jewish Theological Seminary, 2009.  Exams in Jewish Thought, Western Moral Philosophy, Theory and Method in the Study of Religion.  Additional coursework at Princeton University and Fordham University.
  • Rabbinic Ordination, Jewish Theological Seminary, 2007.  Additional coursework at Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies and The Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, Israel.
  • M.A. in Jewish Philosophy, Jewish Theological Seminary, 2006.
  • B.A., summa cum laude, in Classical Languages, Carleton College, Northfield, MN, 2001.

Courses Taught

  • 100-level: Religion in a Global Context
  • 200-level: Jewish Traditions; Hebrew Bible; Judaism and the Environment
  • 300-level: Jewish Ethics; Jewish Philosophy and Mysticism; Modern Jewish Thought; Jewish-Christian Dialogue
  • 400-level: War in the Jewish Tradition

Grants Awarded

Grants and fellowships received from:

  • Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, University of Virginia
  • Targum Shlishi Foundation
  • Tikvah Fund
  • Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture
  • Jewish Theological Seminary Graduate School
  • National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership (CLAL)
  • Crown Family Foundation
Awards at the Jewish Theological Seminary: Aaron Friedenwald Prize in Jewish Theology (co-recipient); Rabbi Jacob S. Minkin Prize in Jewish Philosophy; Isaac H. Wolfson Memorial Award; Bernard and Sydell Citron Scholastic Prize (co-recipient)
Awards and honors at Carleton College: Second Century Student Award; Jean Schmidt Prize; Honors in Independent Study; Distinction in Comprehensive Exercise; Distinction in Major; Phi Beta Kappa.




Professional Activities

Member of the Society of Jewish Ethics, the Association for Jewish Studies, the American Academy of Religion, and the Rabbinical Assembly

Leadership in the Society of Jewish Ethics:

  • President, 2015-
  • Vice President, 2013-2015
  • Annual Meeting Co-Chair, 2012, 2013
  • Board of Directors, 2011-
  • Annual Meeting Program Committee, 2009-2011
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Jewish Ethics