Erik Dreff

Erik is a PhD Candidate at the University of Chicago, where he studies the history of Jewish Thought. His dissertation focuses on the concept of the Intellectual Love of God (amor dei intellectualis) as a principle of political theology in the thought of Baruch Spinoza, a Dutch Jewish 17th century thinker whose influence on modernity simply cannot be overstated, but with a view to more modern ethical, religious and political theological debates. Erik's research interests expand from Spinoza as a watershed thinker in both chronological directions, back to classical Greek philosophy, through medieval Islamic and Jewish rationalism, and forward through early modern and modern political thought, to the thought of Leo Strauss and modern Jewish thought more generally. More broadly speaking, his interests include the medieval and religious sources of the Enlightenment and modernity, early modern and modern political and political theological thought, as well as the history of pantheism and esotericism.  

Erik received his BA from McGill University with Joint Honors, with a concentration in Philosophy and Philosophy & Western Religions, a program that continues to inform his interdisciplinary approach to the history of religions and philosophy. Erik received his Master's degree in Religious Studies from the University of Chicago, with a concentration in the History of Judaism, a program that honed his skills as a historian. On a more personal note, Erik is a first generation Canadian Russian Jew, currently living in Chicago. When not at the library, Erik enjoys cooking extravagant meals, a fine film, and the great outdoors in the form of canoe tripping.