When we repent, there is a sense in which we’re seeking to undo damage done. It’s almost as if we’re trying to undo the past. How seriously should we take this metaphor? Is the past something that can be undone? In this series of podcasts, Samuel Lebens – a philosopher at the University of Haifa, and adjunct faculty member at Pardes – will lead a tour through classical Jewish texts on the nature of repentance, and explore them though the lens of contemporary philosophical reflection on the nature of time.
Episode 1: Reish Lakish and Ockham
The Talmudic sage, Reish Lakish, was well versed in the principles of teshuva (repentance). He had lived as a wayward bandit, before reforming his ways and becoming a leader of Rabbinic Judaism. He was one of the first thinkers to claim, explicitly, that your teshuva has the power to change the past. In this episode, we try to understand this claim of Reish Lakish, in terms of a philosophical distinction first drawn by William of Ockham.