A Q&A with Philosophy Prof. Steven Gimbel
A new book by Gettysburg College philosophy Prof. Steven Gimbel received a front-page review in Aug. 5’s New York Times Sunday Book Review.
Its title drawn from a Nazi epithet, Einstein’s Jewish Science: Physics at the Intersection of Politics and Religion explores how Talmudic habits of mind may have set the stage for Einstein’s insights. New York Times reviewer George Johnson called the book “original” and Gimbel “an engaging writer.”
“What he means is that there might have been elements of Jewish thinking that gave rise to what is now recognized as one of the deepest insights of all time,” Johnson wrote. “What gives Einstein’s work a Jewish flavor, Gimbel believes, is an approach to the universe that reminds him of the way a Talmudic scholar seeks to understand God’s truth. It comes only in glimpses.”
“The heart of the Talmudic view is that there is an absolute truth, but this truth is not directly and completely available to us,” Gimbel writes. “It turns out that exactly the same style of thinking occurs in the relativity theory and in some of Einstein’s other research.”