Emet Prize Laureates

Prof. Zev Harvey

Hebrew University of Jerusalem
2009 Laureates of Emet Prize

In Category: Humanities
In Field: Jewish philosophy

Jewish Philosophy

Prof. Zev Harvey

Jury Statement

“Professor Zev Harvey, one of the leading scholars of Jewish thought, is awarded the EMET Prize for his profound and original contribution to the understanding of fundamental issues in Jewish philosophy and the teachings of prominent figures, for his studies that demonstrate the affinity between non-Jewish thinkers and Jewish philosophy, for unearthing and studying the works of little-known thinkers and for his constant willingness to contribute – both orally and in written form – to the discourse of research in Israel and abroad.”


Professor Zev Harvey was born in New York in 1943.

He started his graduate studies in philosophy in 1965 at Columbia University in New York, and completed his PhD in 1973, under the supervision of Professor Arthur Hyman. Twice during his studies he was a visiting student at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He taught in the Department of Philosophy at McGill University, Montreal, 1972-1977. 

He made aliyah in 1977 and began his work as teacher and researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He was appointed full professor there in 1998, and has served as head of the Department of Jewish Thought since 2008. He was also co-editor of the Tarbiz quarterly for Jewish studies, director of Misgav Yerushalayim, the Center for Research and Study of the Sephardi and Oriental Jewish Heritage, and member of the executive board of Aleph, the journal of science and Judaism. 

Over the years he was visiting professor at the universities of Maryland, Georgetown, Pennsylvania (twice), Yeshiva University, McGill, Yale (three times), Queens College (three times), the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris.

His studies examine the history of Jewish philosophy from ancient times to the present day, and in them he discusses, among other things, the influence of Greek and Roman philosophy upon the Rabbis, the connection between poetry and philosophy in the works of Solomon ibn Gabirol and Judah Halevi, the Maimonidean elements in the teachings of Moses Mendelsohn and Solomon Maimon and the Land of Israel in Jewish philosophy. Among the philosophers whose teachings he has studied: Judah Halevi, Maimonides, Gersonides, Rabbi Nissim Ben Reuven of Girona and Rabbi Hasdai Crescas. 

He has also studied the works of Spinoza and Hobbes and of Jewish philosophers of the modern era, among them Mendelsohn, Buber, Rosenzweig and Leibowitz. His studies on Rabbi Hasdai Crescas examine epistemology, physics, metaphysics, determinism and choice, and the concept of love.