Dr. Leora Batnitzky is Associate Professor of Religion at Princeton University. She received a B.A. in philosophy from Barnard College, Columbia University and a B.A. in biblical studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Her M.A. and Ph.D. are in religion from Princeton University. She is the author of Leo Strauss and Emmanuel Levinas: Philosophy and the Politics of Revelation (Cambridge, 2006) and Idolatry and Representation: The Philosophy of Franz Rosenzweig Reconsidered (Princeton, 2000). She is also the editor of the forthcoming Martin Buber: Schriften zur Philosophie und Religion (Gütersloher) and, since 2004, the co-editor of Jewish Studies Quarterly.
Professor Batnitzky’s research and teaching have focused on modern religious thought and on Jewish thought particularly. Increasingly, she has focused on the historical and philosophical continuities between religious thought and political theory as they relate to the development of modern legal theory. She has published numerous articles and book chapters, including articles in Oxford Journal of Legal Studies and Cardozo Law Review.
At NYU School of Law, Professor Batnitzky’s work will focus on the conceptual relation between one of the first proponents of legal positivism Hans Kelsen (1881-1973) and the neo-Kantian Jewish philosopher Hermann Cohen (1842-1918) to show some of the ways in which Kelsen’s theory of law in general and his theory of international law in particular may be conceptually related if not indebted to Cohen’s Jewish theological corrective of Kant. This research aims to demonstrate the common philosophical and political endeavor of modern Jewish thinkers and modern legal theorists influenced by Kelsen to define a concept of law that denies that coercion is an intrinsic part of law. This work is part of a larger project that examines the concept of law in modern religious thought (Jewish and Christian) and modern legal theory (Anglo-American and Continental). Professor Batnitzky’s project is supported by a New Directions Fellowship from the Andrew Mellon Foundation.