Religious Studies Professor Geoffrey Claussen's chapter is included in "Jewish Religious and Philosophical Ethics," published by Routledge
Geoffrey Claussen, Lori and Eric Sklut Scholar in Jewish Studies and associate professor of religious studies, has published a paper titled “Angels, Humans, and the Struggle for Moral Excellence in the Writings of Meir Simhah of Dvinsk and Simhah Zissel of Kelm.” The paper appears in the volume "Jewish Religious and Philosophical Ethics," edited by Curtis Hutt, Halla Kim, and Berel Dov Lerner (Routledge, 2018).
In his paper, Claussen contrasts the moral psychology of two prominent Lithuanian rabbis who sought to influence Orthodox Judaism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries: Rabbi Meir Simhah of Dvinsk (1843-1926) and Rabbi Simhah Zissel Ziv of Kelm (1824-1898).
The paper considers questions about the value of philosophical contemplation, how difficult moral transformation may be, whether acts of loving-kindness constitute the highest form of human spirituality, and how human beings may be compared with angels.
Claussen is presently on sabbatical for the 2017-18 academic year, working on a book that explores debates in modern Jewish ethics.