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Joshua S. Parens, Ph.D.

Joshua Parens received his doctorate from the University of Chicago.  His research interests include Islamic and Jewish medieval philosophy, early modern philosophy, and political philosophy.

Areas of Expertise

Islamic and Jewish Medieval Philosophy
Early Modern Philosophy
Political Philosophy


Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1992
M.A., University of Chicago, 1988
B.A., St. John's College, 1984

Recent Courses

  • Phi 1301 Philosophy & the Ethical Life
  • Phi 2323 Philosophy of Man
  • Phi 3311 Philosophy of Being
  • Phi 3327 Early Modern Philosophy
  • Phi 3351 Junior Seminar
  • Phi 4141 Senior Thesis
  • Phi 4338 Philosophy of Religion
  • Phi 4341 Senior Seminar: Mind/Body Problems
  • Phi 5311 Philosophy of Law
  • Phi 5331 Philosophy of Law
  • Phi 5360 Islamic Political Philosophy
  • Phi 5360 Islamic Political Thought
  • Phi 5360 Selected Texts: Islamic Political Philosophy
  • Phi 6310 Text Seminar: Aristotle's Metaphysics
  • Phi 6310 Text Seminar: Plato's Protagoras and Philebus
  • Phi 6310 Text Seminar: Plato's Trilogy
  • Phi 6322 Aristotle (the Metaphysics)
  • Phi 6377 Maimonides (the Guide of the Perplexed)
  • Phi 6377 Philosophy of Mind
  • Phi 7333 Text Seminar: Maimonides
  • Phi 7333 Text Seminar: Maimonides (the Guide of the Perplexed)
  • Phi 7344 Early Modern Philosophy
  • Phi 7344 Text Seminar: Machiavelli, Bacon, Descarte
  • Phi 7344 Spinoza (the Ethics)
  • Phi 7355 Text Seminar: Heidegger & Aristotle
  • IPS 8321 Plato & Aristotle
  • IPS 8342 Hobbes and Rousseau
  • IPS 5381 Maimonides & Spinoza
  • Phi 5381-01 Leo Strauss

Selected Publications


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

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

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

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

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


“Strauss on Maimonides’s Secretive Political Science,” in Leo Strauss’s Defense of the Philosophic Life: Reading “What Is Political Philosophy?”, Rafe Major, ed., 116–36 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013).

“Leaving the Garden: Maimonides and Spinoza on the Imagination and Practical Intellect Revisited,” Philosophy & Theology 18:2 (2006): 219–246.

"Maimonidean Ethics Revisited: Development and Asceticism in Maimonides?" Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy 12:3 (2003): 33–62.

"Multiculturalism and the Problem of Particularism," American Political Science Review 88:1 (1994): 169–181.

"Theory and Practice in Medieval Aristotelianism," Polity 26 (1993): 317–330.