Elias Sacks
Religious Studies • Jewish Studies

 Office: Humanities 286

 Office Hours: Tuesdays 1:00PM - 3:00PM or by appointment

Access Elias Sacks' CV here


Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Jewish Studies


Areas of research related to Jewish Studies:

Jewish thought, Moses Mendelssohn, Nachman Krochmal, Jewish-Christian relations, philosophy of religion, religion and politics, hermeneutics, and religious ethics

Courses: 

God (FYSM 1000), Religion and Contemporary Society (RLST 2400), Judaism (RLST/JWST 3100), God and Politics (RLST/JWST 4170-5170), Is God Dead? (RLST/JWST 4180-5180), Love & Desire (RLST/JWST 4190-5190), Topics in Judaism: Bible in Judaism and Christianity (RLST/JWST 4260-5260), Introduction to the Academic Study of Religion (RLST 6830), Undergraduate Independent Study (RLST 4840 / JWST 4900), Graduate Independent Study (RLST 5840/6840)

Recent Publications:

“Poetry, Music, and the Limits of Harmony: Mendelssohn’s Aesthetic Critique of Christianity,” in Sara Levy’s World: Bach, Gender, and Judaism in Enlightenment Berlin, eds. Nancy Sinkoff and Rebecca Cypess, Eastman Studies in Music (University of Rochester Press, 2018), 122-146

Moses Mendelssohn’s Living Script: Philosophy, Practice, History, Judaism (Indiana University Press, 2017)

“Law, Ethics, and the Needs of History: Mendelssohn, Krochmal, and Moral Philosophy,” Journal of Religious Ethics 44.2 (2016): 352-377

About Prof. Sacks:

Elias Sacks joined the University of Colorado faculty in 2012, and works on the Jewish tradition, religious thought, and theories and methods in the study of religion.  After receiving his A.B. from Harvard University and studying at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he earned an M.A. in Religion from Columbia University (2007) and a Ph.D. in Religion from Princeton University (2012).  His research focuses on the modern period, with particular areas of interest including Jewish thought, Jewish-Christian relations, philosophy of religion, religion and politics, hermeneutics, and religious ethics. His first book, Moses Mendelssohn’s Living Script: Philosophy, Practice, History, Judaism (Indiana University Press, 2017), explores the account of Jewish practice developed by Moses Mendelssohn, the eighteenth-century philosopher generally seen as the founder of modern Jewish thought.  Reading Mendelssohn’s well-known German works alongside his neglected Hebrew writings, the book calls for a far-reaching reassessment of this influential figure, recovering previously unrecognized arguments by Mendelssohn about philosophy, citizenship, and religious authority, and showing that his thought has much to offer broader conversations about modernity and religion.

Sacks is currently working on a second book, Nachman Krochmal and the Struggle for Modern Jewish Politics, on Nachman Krochmal (1785-1840), one of modernity’s first Eastern European Jewish philosophers.

His other academic publications include: “Poetry, Music, and the Limits of Harmony: Mendelssohn’s Aesthetic Critique of Christianity,” in Sara Levy’s World: Bach, Gender, and Judaism in Enlightenment Berlin, eds. Nancy Sinkoff and Rebecca Cypess, Eastman Studies in Music (University of Rochester Press, 2018), 122-146; “Worlds to Come Between East and West: Immortality and the Rise of Modern Jewish Thought,” in Olam Ha-zeh v’Olam Ha-ba: This World and the World to Come in Jewish Belief and Practice, ed. Leonard Greenspoon, Studies in Jewish Civilization (Purdue University Press, 2017), 171-195; “Is God Eternal? Revisiting Mendelssohn and Rosenzweig on Reason, Revelation, and the Name of God,” Modern Theology 33.1 (2017): 69-91; “Law, Ethics, and the Needs of History: Mendelssohn, Krochmal, and Moral Philosophy,” Journal of Religious Ethics 44.2 (2016): 352-377; “Civic Freedom out of the Sources of Judaism: Mendelssohn, Maimonides, and Law’s Promise,” Journal of Jewish Ethics 2.1 (2016): 86-111; “Anarchy and Law: Mendelssohn on Philosophy and Judaism,” in Moses Mendelssohn: Enlightenment, Religion, Politics, Nationalism, eds. Charles Manekin and Michah Gottlieb (University Press of Maryland, 2015), 237-273; “Spinoza, Maimonides and the Politics of Prophecy,” Jewish Studies Quarterly 21.1 (2014): 67-98; “‘Finden Sie mich sehr amerikanisch?’: Jacob Taubes, Hermann Cohen, and the Return to German-Jewish Liberalism,” Leo Baeck Institute Year Book 57 (2012): 187-210; “Moses Mendelssohn,” Oxford Bibliographies in Jewish Studies, ed. David Biale (Oxford University Press, 2012).  Sacks also serves as a translator for a new English edition of Mendelssohn’s writings (Brandeis University Press, 2011, finalist for the National Jewish Book Award), along with a new collection of Cohen’s works and an anthology of responses to Spinoza (Brandeis University Press).