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Joshua S. Parens, Ph.D.

Joshua Parens received his B.A. from St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago. He arrived at UD in 1997 and is now Professor of Philosophy and Politics. He was the director of the Institute of Philosophic Studies and the dean of the Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Arts for just shy of 10 years until December 2022. Along with many articles, he has published two monographs on Alfarabi, one on Maimonides (and Spinoza), and one on Leo Strauss. He also co-edited with Joseph Macfarland the second edition of the classic anthology by Ralph Lerner and Muhsin Mahdi, Medieval Political Philosophy: A Sourcebook (Cornell University Press, 2011). And together with Douglas Kries, he is the co-editor of Rochester Studies in Medieval Political Thought, published by University of Rochester Press and Boydell & Brewer.

Areas of Expertise

Islamic and Jewish Medieval Philosophy, Early Modern Philosophy, and Political Philosophy


Ph.D., Political Philosophy, University of Chicago, 1992
B.A., Liberal Arts and Sciences, St. John's College, 1984

Selected Publications

Leo Strauss and the Recovery of Medieval Political Philosophy. University of Rochester Press, 2016.

Maimonides and Spinoza: Their Conflicting Views of Human Nature. University of Chicago Press, 2012.

Medieval Political Philosophy: A Sourcebook. (edited in collaboration with Joseph C. Macfarland) 2nd edition. Cornell University Press, 2011.

An Islamic Philosophy of Virtuous Religions: Introducing Alfarabi. State University of New York Press, 2006.

Metaphysics as Rhetoric: Alfarabi's "Summary of Plato's Laws". State University of New York Press, 1995.

The Foundations and Defense of Laws Plato's Laws and Farabi's Summary, 1992.