98 episodes

The Hebrew Bible is every bit America’s moral founding document as the Constitution is our political founding document. Every week, Rabbi Dr. Ari Lamm, speaks with thinkers, writers, artists, and faith leaders to explore how the Bible continues to inform our lives today, from politics to psychology to pop culture, bringing Americans of different traditions and persuasions closer together as so much else threatens to pull us apart.

Good Faith Effort SoulShop

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 5.0 • 263 Ratings

The Hebrew Bible is every bit America’s moral founding document as the Constitution is our political founding document. Every week, Rabbi Dr. Ari Lamm, speaks with thinkers, writers, artists, and faith leaders to explore how the Bible continues to inform our lives today, from politics to psychology to pop culture, bringing Americans of different traditions and persuasions closer together as so much else threatens to pull us apart.

    Alastair Roberts - How To Read The Bible

    Alastair Roberts - How To Read The Bible

    How should you read the Bible? Is the Bible just a collection of nice stories mixed in with a bunch of motivational poster one-liners? What’s the best way to plumb the artistic depths of this unparalleled literary and spiritual masterpiece?

    On this episode, Ari unpacked all of this with renowned podcaster and Biblical scholar Alastair Roberts. Over the course of this exciting, frenetic conversation, they talked about the Bible in the history and culture of England; why Alastair, a Protestant scholar,
    is a fan of Jewish Biblical commentator Rabbi David Fohrman; the connection between Noah’s Ark, the birth of Moses and the crossing of the Red Sea; the character of Miriam; the Creation narrative and the Tabernacle in Leviticus; why Martin Luther was wrong
    about the Book of Esther; how the stories of Genesis illuminate the stories of Samuel and Kings; the role of the tribe of Benjamin; the Israelites in Exile; and much more!
    Good Faith Effort is a production of Bnai Zion and SoulShop.

    • 1 hr 18 min
    Jordan B. Gorfinkel - DC Comics and the Bible

    Jordan B. Gorfinkel - DC Comics and the Bible

    One of the great differences between Athens and Jerusalem is that while Athens was the early master of philosophical inquiry, Jerusalem became the early master of storytelling. The Bible is the source for the greatest stories ever told—what Rabbi Sacks call “philosophy in the narrative mode”. And at least in terms of scale, perhaps the greatest storytelling civilization after ancient Israel is America since the invention of modern media. And, of course, it’s no accident that one of the most profound influences on American society is actually the texts, values and ideas of ancient Israel.

    So how should we understand this legacy of storytelling from ancient times to today?

    On this episode, Ari unpacked all of this with Jordan Gorfinkel, AKA Gorf, one of the great creators and writers for DC Comics—creator of the legendary No Man’s Land run in the Batman series; and creator of the Birds of Prey franchise—as well as author of the Passover Haggadah Graphic Novel. They talked the Good Faith Effort Drinking Game™; the influence of Genesis on one of the most iconic Batman comic runs; Gotham as Sodom and Gomorrah; the role of humor in great storytelling; the different eras of Batman; the creation of the Birds of Prey franchise; why Gorf had to skip dinner with Mark Hamill; whether pop culture can be sanctified; Rabbi Norman Lamm’s influence on comic books (!); and much more!

    Good Faith Effort is a production of Bnai Zion and SoulShop.

    • 1 hr 12 min
    Jonathan Bi - What’s The Problem With Paganism?

    Jonathan Bi - What’s The Problem With Paganism?

    Why do celebrity advertisements work? Why do wars happen? What makes the story of Cain and Abel so compelling?

    What if I told you the answer to all of those questions was…the same?

    Enter Rene Girard, an atheist-turned-Catholic philosophical anthropologist who was also deeply influential on some of the people who have most shaped our world today—from the biggest tech founders, entrepreneurs and investors. In this episode, Ari unpacked Girard’s thought with Jonathan Bi, master teacher and creator of the popular and accessible YouTube series on Girard’s thought, “Interpreting Girard: Exegete of the Apocalypse”.

    Together they discussed misery in higher education; whether learning for its own sake is possible; the Reign of Terror and Vichy France; Emmanuel Levinas; William James and SoulCycle; Girard’s belief in the imminent arrival of the apocalypse; the Jewish concept of an “eruv”; Hebraic politics; Ari’s pushback on Girard’s account of Judaism; and much more!

    Don’t miss this exciting episode! And check out Jonathan Bi’s magnificent YouTube series: “Interpreting Girard: Exegete of the Apocalypse”

    Good Faith Effort is a production of Bnai Zion and SoulShop.

    • 1 hr 30 min
    Daniel Dreisbach - The American Founders’ Political Theology

    Daniel Dreisbach - The American Founders’ Political Theology

    How did the American Founders read the Bible? What wisdom did they find there? How did their literary sensibilities interact with their political ones in reading the Bible? And how does this history stay with us today?

    To unpack all this, Ari spoke with Professor at the American University in Washington D.C., and author of “Reading The Bible With The Founding Fathers”, Daniel Dreisbach. They talked the Book of Deuteronomy in the Founding Era; political order in the Bible; the Bible on the fate of nations; television as a modern American lingua franca; the sermon as public intellectual genre; the first prayer in the history of Congress; George Washington’s favorite Biblical verse; Biblical law and the Constitution; and much more!
    Good Faith Effort is a production of Bnai Zion and SoulShop.

    • 46 min
    Brian Ogren - Kabbalah and the American Founding

    Brian Ogren - Kabbalah and the American Founding

    The Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Scientific Revolution…this was when we finally kicked religion out of public life, right?

    In fact, it was precisely in these moments that Western thinkers were most expansive and ambitious in their curiosity about religion—its texts, ideas, and practical implications. This was famously true in the case of the Bible, the greater focus on which prompted the revival of Hebrew study throughout Europe. But it was also true of the study of Jewish mysticism, which drew the fascination of some of the most famous thinkers of the Renaissance and beyond. This had implications not only for the course of European thought, but—according to an excellent new book, “Kabbalah and the Founding of America”, by Rice University historian Brian Ogren—for the founding and development of America itself.

    On this episode, Ari unpacked all of this with Brian. They talked about misperceptions about science and religion during the Renaissance; why Renaissance thinkers were interested in mystical thought; John Adams and Jewish literature; the importance of Ezra Stiles, president of Yale during the American Revolution; the influence of an Orthodox rabbi from the Holy Land on the American experiment; the most important commencement address ever delivered in the history of American higher education; Madonna; and much more!
    Good Faith Effort is a production of Bnai Zion and SoulShop.

    • 51 min
    David Fohrman - How To Read The Bible Closely

    David Fohrman - How To Read The Bible Closely

    The Bible is the most important work in the history of literature, so it seems like a pretty important priority should be to figure out how to read it well! What strategies can your average person use to uncover the Biblical text’s meaning? Which commentaries are most important to consult? Are there new insights we can, perhaps, discover on our own? If so, how?

    To unpack all this, Ari spoke with the founder of Aleph Beta, the legendary Biblical interpreter and teacher Rabbi David Fohrman. In a wide-ranging conversation they discussed how to break down a text; the role of reading commentaries; the artistry behind the story of Jacob and Esau; the importance of reading Biblical names in their Hebrew original; the Biblical misanthrope Onan; literary allusions in the story of Ruth and Boaz; how to appreciate the Book of Leviticus; the future of Biblical commentary; and much more!
    Good Faith Effort is a production of Bnai Zion and SoulShop.

    • 1 hr 14 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
263 Ratings

263 Ratings

CracklinOB ,

So fun and cool

Love the show. The rabbi is so cool, and I wish I could sit down and have lunch with him. I’m not even Jewish!

David1833 ,

Brilliant

This is my new favorite podcast! Deeply thoughtful, enlightening and entertaining at the same time. And not just for Jews! Highly recommended for anyone who wants to deepen their understanding of the Bible, history and American culture.

bskla ,

Great for a anyone interested in morality and politics

Tremendous energy, great speakers, both Jewish and non jewish scholars

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