The Hebrew Republic: Jewish Sources and the Transformation of European Political Thought

The Hebrew Republic by Eric Nelson

2012 Prize in the Humanities

Author: Eric Nelson
Publisher: Harvard University Press (2010)

Jury Statement

An electrifying, bold analysis, Eric Nelson’s The Hebrew Republic is a transformative work in political and intellectual history that makes a significant contribution to European studies. Nelson argues persuasively that a European engagement with Jewish political thought was central to the development of modern notions of republican government, the redistribution of wealth, and religious tolerance. Using rabbinical commentaries and examining republican thought, Nelson’s careful scholarship offers a wealth of new and counter-intuitive insights. This is a watershed in presenting the history of political thought and is a very important book with which scholars will engage and argue for decades to come.

About the Author

Eric Nelson is Professor of Government at Harvard University. His research focuses on the history of political thought in early-modern Europe and America, and on the implications of that history for debates in contemporary political theory. Nelson received his A.B. summa cum laude from Harvard University (1999) and his Ph.D. from The University of Cambridge (2002). He has been awarded fellowships by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies. He has also been a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows, a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and a British Marshall Scholar.


2012 Jury

Caryl Emerson
A. Watson Armour III University Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures
Princeton University

Don Howard
Professor of Philosophy
Director of the Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values
University of Notre Dame

Suzanne L. Marchand
Professor of History
Louisiana State University

Mark W. Roche
Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C. Professor of German Language and Literature
University of Notre Dame

Paul Woodruff
Professor of Philosophy
Inaugural Dean of the School of Undergraduate Studies
University of Texas at Austin