Claussen's book prompts roundtable of essays in The Journal of Jewish Ethics

The essays were published in response to Associate Professor of Religious Studies Geoffrey Claussen's recent book, "Sharing the Burden."

The Journal of Jewish Ethics has published a roundtable of essays in response to a book written by Geoffrey Claussen, associate professor of religious studies.

​The four articles included in the roundtable assessed the impact and contribution of Claussen’s 2015 book, “Sharing the Burden: Rabbi Simḥah Zissel Ziv and the Path of Musar,” published by SUNY Press. First presented at a March 2016 symposium organized under the auspices of the Elon Center for the Study of Religion, Culture, and Society, the essays constitute the first scholarly publications to emerge out of the center’s work and were published in JJE Vol. 3/1 (2017).

The journal’s roundtable, titled “Virtue Ethics and the Mussar Movement,” includes articles by faculty from other universities including Christian B. Miller, professor of philosophy and director of the Character Project at Wake Forest University, Andrea Dara Cooper, assistant professor of religious studies and Leonard and Tobee Kaplan Fellow in Modern Jewish Thought and Culture at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Elon faculty members Jeffrey C. Pugh, Maude Sharpe Powell Professor of Religious Studies, and Rebecca Todd Peters, professor of religious studies, also contributed, with Claussen writing a response to the scholarly examinations.

Claussen joined the Elon faculty in August 2011 and the following year was named the Lori and Eric Sklut Scholar in Jewish Studies. He was the founding coordinator of Elon’s Jewish Studies program, which launched in Fall 2012, and he is the past president of the Society of Jewish Ethics.

Claussen is on sabbatical leave for the 2017-18 academic year to work on his new new book, “Modern Musar: Contested Virtues in Modern Jewish Thought,” under contract with the University of Nebraska Press. This book analyzes the genre of musar, or virtue-centered, Jewish literature, that was so central to the Musar movement. It considers how musar literature has been produced by modern Jews within diverse frameworks and movements, not just within the Musar movement itself.  By looking at diverse approaches to various virtues, Claussen is seeking to analyze the vast diversity within modern Jewish ethics.