Religiously Curious and Spiritually Independent with Rabbi Rami Shapiro Ph.D., Amy-Jill Levine Ph.D. & Marc Zvi Brettler Ph.D.

Religiously Curious and Spiritually Independent with Rabbi Rami Shapiro Ph.D., Amy-Jill Levine Ph.D. & Marc Zvi Brettler Ph.D.


Walk into a Christian church that preaches from the Old Testament and then walk into a synagogue that teaches from the Hebrew Bible, the scripture should be similar, right? Well, not exactly. Even though both books are known to depict the same stories, many factors go into how we interpret them. Certain works may be highlighted in one religion or omitted by another. To explore the intricacies of religion and spirituality, Positive Psychology Podcast Host Lisa Cypers Kamen speaks with three authors and religious scholars about the purpose of religion, religious texts, and spirituality. Rabbi Rami Shapiro is a highly decorated, yet unorthodox Rabbi who has studied many religions including Buddhism, Hinduism, and is a Mason in the Scottish Rite. He joins Lisa to discuss the fine points of his book, Judaism Without Tribalism: A Guide to Being a Blessing to All the Peoples of the Earth, and to share spiritual practices that can be used to elevate us all. Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Zvi Brettler discuss, the role of women in the bible, the different versions of the Bible, and the innumerable and diverse interpretations of individual religious texts based on research gained while writing, The Bible With and WIthout Jesus: How Jews and Christians Read the Same Stories Differently.

About Lisa’s guests: 

Rabbi Rami Shapiro, Ph.D., has a reputation for being perhaps the most unorthodox rabbi you've ever met! Growing up, his mother thought he might be the Messiah, while his father was convinced he was a luftmensch (airhead). He earned rabbinical ordination from Hebrew Union College in order to preach his ideas in synagogues, and a Ph.D. in contemporary Judaism from Union Graduate School in order to teach his ideas in universities. Along the way, he’s taken Bodhisattva vows in Zen Buddhism, become a 33° Mason in the Scottish Rite, been initiated into the Ramakrishna Order of Vedanta Hinduism, joined the Theosophical Society, published three dozen books, and his poems included in prayer books and hymnals around the English-speaking world.

Amy-Jill Levine is a University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies and Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt (Divinity and A&S); she is also an Affiliated Professor, Woolf Institute: Centre for Jewish-Christian Relations, Cambridge. 

Marc Zvi Brettler is the Bernice and Morton Lerner Distinguished Professor of Jewish Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at Duke University. He is actively involved in many aspects of Jewish communal life.

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