Consciously writing from a Jewish background, thirty-five esteemed authors, from Britain, Canada, Israel, and the United States cover the whole breadth of Jewishphilosophy, concentrating upon the philosophical interest of the ideas themselves. The contributors to this work explore numerous issues raised in the text of the Bible and in the history of the Jewish people, and discuss the major schools of thought and most serious controversies of ancient and modern Jewishphilosophy. Topics (...) include postmodern techniques, the thought of Moses Maimonides, and philosophic studies of the Holocaust. Throughout this work, the authors insist on the importance of understanding the social and cultural context in which Jewishphilosophy exists. The broad range of ideas in this volume makes it an invaluable sourcebook on the nature of Jewishphilosophy. (shrink)
Jewish Messianism and the History of Philosophy contests the ancient opposition between Athens and Jerusalem by retrieval of the concept of meontology - the doctrine of nonbeing - in one strand of the Jewish philosophical and theological tradition. This book offers new readings of important figures in contemporary Continental philosophy, critiquing arguments about the role of lived religion in the thought of Jacques Derrida, the role of Greek philosophy in the thought of Emmanuel Levinas, (...) and the ethical import of the thought of Franz Rosenzweig. Kavka argues that the Greek concept of nonbeing (understood as both lack and possibility) clarifies the meaning of Jewish life. This concept allows these thinkers to articulate Jewish life as centered on messianic anticipation, the hungering after a stasis that philosophy has traditionally associated with the concept of being. (shrink)
Contemporary JewishPhilosophy offers a comprehensive survey of Jewishphilosophy in the twentieth century. At the same time, it gives an appraisal of the meaning of this philosophy within the context of the history of philosophy. Jewish philosophers who are introduced are the most important in this age: Hermann Cohen, Franz Rosenzweig, Martin Buber, Leo Strauss, Emmanuel Le;vinas. The problems which are emphasized are the crisis of humanism and the quest for new (...) thinking. This book provides a new approach to philosophical anthropology. (shrink)
From the ninth to the fifteenth centuries Jewish thinkers living in Islamic and Christian lands philosophized about Judaism. Influenced first by Islamic theological speculation and the great philosophers of classical antiquity, and then in the late medieval period by Christian Scholasticism, Jewish philosophers and scientists reflected on the nature of language about God, the scope and limits of human understanding, the eternity or createdness of the world, prophecy and divine providence, the possibility of human freedom, and the relationship (...) between divine and human law. Though many viewed philosophy as a dangerous threat, others incorporated it into their understanding of what it is to be a Jew. This Companion presents all the major Jewish thinkers of the period, the philosophical and non-philosophical contexts of their thought, and the interactions between Jewish and non-Jewish philosophers. It is a comprehensive introduction to a vital period of Jewish intellectual history. (shrink)
This book surveys the vast body of medieval Jewishphilosophy, devoting ample discussion to major figures such as Saadiah Gaon, Maimonides, Abraham Ibn Ezra, Judah Halevi, Abraham Ibn Daoud, and Gersonides, as well as presenting the ancillary texts of lesser known authors. Sirat quotes little-known texts, providing commentary and situating them within their historical and philosophical contexts. A comprehensive bibliography directs the reader to the texts themselves and to recent studies.
Introduction: in search of a Jewish renaissance -- Jewishphilosophy: humanist roots of a contradiction in terms -- The prophetic-poetic dimension of philosophy: the ars poetica and Immanuel of Rome -- Leone Ebreo's concept of Jewishphilosophy -- Conceptions of history: Azariah de Rossi -- Scientific thought and the exegetical mind, with an essay on the life and works of Rabbi Judah Loew -- Mathematical and biblical exegesis: Jewish sources of Athanasius Kircher's (...) musical theory -- Creating geographical and political utopias: the ten lost tribes and the east -- Ceremonial law: history of a philosophical-political concept -- The city and the ghetto: Simone Luzzatto and the development of Jewish political thought -- Body of conversion and immortality of the soul: Sara Copio Sullam, the 'Beautiful Jewess'. (shrink)
The year 1492 is only the last in a series of “ends” that inform the representation of medieval Spain in modern Jewish historical and literary discourses. These ends simultaneously mirror the traumas of history and shed light on the discursive process by which hermetic boundaries are set between periods, communities, and texts. This book addresses the representation of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries as the end of al-Andalus (Islamic Spain). Here, the end works to locate and separate Muslim (...) from Christian Spain, Jews from Arabs, philosophy from Kabbalah, Kabbalah from literature, and texts from contexts. The book offers a reading of texts that emerge from its Andalusi, Jewish, and Arabic cultural sphere: Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed; the major text of Kabbalah, the Zohar; and the Arabic rhymed prose narrative of Ibn al-Astarkuwi. The author argues that these texts are written in a language that disrupts the possibility of locating it in a pre-existing cultural situation, a recognizable literary tradition, or a particular genre. At stake are issues – texts and contexts – that have gained particular urgency in the writings of such recent thinkers as Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida, Giorgio Agamben, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Avital Ronell. The book reads the place and taking place of language, interrogating the notion of disappearing contexts and the view that language is derivative of its true place, the context that, having ended, is mourned as silent and lost. (shrink)
In this enlightening study, a noted scholar elucidates the distinguishing characteristics of the works of several Jewish thinkers of the Middle Ages. In addition to summaries of the main arguments and teachings of Moses Maimonides, Isaac Israeli, Judah Halevi, Abraham Ibn Daud, Hillel ben Samuel, Levi ben Gerson, Joseph Albo, and many others, the author offers insightful analyses and commentary. Of particular value to beginners, this volume is also an ever-relevant resource for many issues of scholarly debate.
Some underlying issues of modern Jewishphilosophy -- Does Judaism have universal significance? -- Death and the fear of death in Franz Rosenzweig's The star of redemption -- The Halevi book -- Into life : Rosenzweig's essays on God, man and the world -- The meaning of Hasidism : Martin Buber and Gershom Scholem -- Autobiography and the becoming of the self : Martin Buber and Joseph Campbell -- Franz Rosenzweig and Emmanuel Levinas : a midrash or thought-experiment (...) -- Welcoming the other : the philosophical foundation for pluralism in the works of Charles Davis and Emmanuel Levinas -- Joseph B. Soloveitchik and Soren Kierkegaard : reflections on "The lonely man of faith" -- Eliezer Schweid : the first Israeli philosopher -- Can we still stay with him? : two Jewish theologians confront the Holocaust (Emil Fackenheim and Arthur Cohen) -- Theology and community : the work of Emil Fackenheim -- Irving Greenberg : a Jewish dialectic of hope -- Feminist Jewishphilosophy : a response. (shrink)
Medieval Jewish philosophers have been studied extensively by modern scholars, but even though their philosophical thinking was often shaped by their interpretation of the Bible, relatively little attention has been paid to them as biblical interpreters. In this study, Robert Eisen breaks new ground by analyzing how six medieval Jewish philosophers approached the Book of Job. These thinkers covered are Saadiah Gaon, Moses Maimonides, Samuel ibn Tibbon, Zerahiah Hen, Gersonides, and Simon ben Zemah Duran. Eisen explores each philosopher's (...) reading of Job on three levels: its relationship to interpretations of Job by previous Jewish philosophers, the way in which it grapples with the major difficulties in the text, and its interaction with the author's systematic philosophical thought. Eisen also examines the resonance between the readings of Job of medieval Jewish philosophers and those of modern biblical scholars. What emerges is a portrait of a school of Joban interpretation that was creative, original, and at times surprisingly radical. Eisen thus demonstrates that medieval Jewish philosophers were serious exegetes whom scholars cannot afford to ignore. By bringing a previously-overlooked aspect of these thinkers' work to light, Eisen adds new depth to our knowledge of both Jewishphilosophy and biblical interpretation. (shrink)
Modern Jewishphilosophy emerged in the seventeenth century, with the impact of the new science and modern philosophy on thinkers who were reflecting upon the nature of Judaism and Jewish life. This collection of new essays examines the work of several of the most important of these figures, from the seventeenth to the late-twentieth centuries, and addresses themes central to the tradition of modern Jewishphilosophy: language and revelation, autonomy and authority, the problem of (...) evil, messianism, the influence of Kant, and feminism. Included are essays on Spinoza, Mendelssohn, Cohen, Buber, Rosenzweig, Fackenheim, Soloveitchik, Strauss, and Levinas. Other thinkers discussed include Maimon, Benjamin, Derrida, Scholem, and Arendt. The sixteen original essays are written by a world-renowned group of scholars especially for this volume and give a broad and rich picture of the tradition of modern Jewishphilosophy over a period of four centuries. (shrink)
Exploring the subject of Jewishphilosophy as a controversial construction site of the project of modernity, this book examines the implications of the different and often conflicting notions that drive the debate on the question of what ...
The central debate of natural theology among medieval Muslims and Jews concerned whether or not the world was eternal. Opinions divided sharply on this issue because the outcome bore directly on God's relationship with the world: eternity implies a deity bereft of will, while a world with a beginning leads to the contrasting picture of a deity possessed of will. In this exhaustive study of medieval Islamic and Jewish arguments for eternity, creation, and the existence of God, Herbert Davidson (...) provides a systematic classification of the proofs, analyzes and explains them, and traces their sources in Greek philosophy. Throughout the study, Davidson tries to take into account every argument of a philosophical character, disregarding only those arguments that rest entirely on religious faith or which fall below a minimal level of plausibility. (shrink)
Although much has been said about the decline of the printed word, this would be hard to claim for the discipline of philosophy. Recent years have seen a proliferation of dictionaries, anthologies, "companions," and histories. Though varying in format, they are all intended to give readers—scholars, students, and philosophically-inclined members of the public—both a general overview of certain periods and fields, and a sophisticated, up-to-date discussion of standard topics and problems. While this might all seem too much of a (...) good thing, especially since many of the same authors are included in the different collections published by different presses, taken as a whole the enterprise will no doubt serve to elevate .. (shrink)
Jewish learning and thought in Languedoc -- 1250-1300: implications of original philosophic work and the diffusion of philosophic learning in Languedoc -- 1250-1300: Jewish contacts with Christian intellectuals and Jewish thought regarding Christianity -- Meiri's transformation of Talmud study: philosophic spirituality in a halakhic key -- 1300: on the eve of the controversy -- 1300-1304: knowledge and authority in dispute -- 1304-1306: the controversy peaks -- The effects of the expulsion: Jewish philosophic culture in Roussillon and (...) Provence. (shrink)
Abstract Proceeding from Jewishphilosophy's origins in the convergence and divergence of Greek and Jewish thought and the resulting possibilities of construing Judaism and philosophy as heterogeneous or homogeneous, and ranging across the three major “ages“ or linguistic matrices of Jewish philosophizing (Hellenistic, Judeo-Arabic, and Germanic), the essay describes Jewishphilosophy as an unresolvable entanglement in a dialectic of heteronomy and autonomy.
The question of how to justify our practices is central in both general and Jewishphilosophy. In this book Daniel Rynhold critiques abstract approaches to justifying Jewish practice from the history of Jewishphilosophy. Instead, he suggests a more practical model for justifying practices that he terms the Priority of Practice approach, illustrating thereby how Jewishphilosophy can make a genuine contribution to general philosophical debates.
The problems of evil and suffering have been extensively discussed in Jewishphilosophy, and much of the discussion has centred on the Book of Job. In this study Oliver Leaman poses two questions: how can a powerful and caring deity allow terrible things to happen to obviously innocent people, and why have the Jewish people been so harshly treated throughout history, given their status as the chosen people? He explores these issues through an analysis of the (...) views of Philo, Saadya, Maimonides, Gersonides, Spinoza, Mendelssohn, Hermann Cohen, Buber, Rosenzweig, and post-Holocaust thinkers, and suggests that a discussion of evil and suffering is really a discussion about our relationship with God. (shrink)
What are the relationships between philosophy and the history of philosophy, the history of science and the philosophy of science? This selection of essays by Lorenz Krüger (1932-1994) presents exemplary studies on the philosophy of John Locke and Immanuel Kant, on the history of physics and on the scope and limitations of scientific explanation, and a realistic understanding of science and truth. In his treatment of leading currents in 20th century philosophy, Krüger (...) presents new and original arguments for a deeper understanding of the continuity and dynamics of the development of scientific theory. These result in significant consequences for the claim of the sciences that they understand reality in a rational manner. The case studies are complemented by fundamental thoughts on the relationship between philosophy, science, and their common history. (shrink)
Abstract In this essay I trace the role of history in the philosophy of art from the early twentieth century to the present, beginning with the rejection of history by formalists like Clive Bell. I then attempt to show how the arguments of people like Morris Weitz and Arthur Danto led to a re-appreciation of history by philosophers of art such as Richard Wollheim, Jerrold Levinson, Robert Stecker and others.
Abstract Contrary to most modern interpretations, in the early modern period, history was an indispensable resource for many philosophers. The different uses of history by Bacon, Gassendi, Locke, and Hume are explored to establish the role of history as a resource in early-modern philosophy.
There are a large number of disciplines that are interested in the theoretical aspects of the history of thought. Their perspectives and subjects may vary, but fundamentally they have a common research interest: the history of human thinking and its products. Despite this, they are studied in relative isolation. I argue that having different subjects as specific objects of research, such as political or scientific thinking, is not a valid justification for the separation. I propose the formation of (...) a new integrated field of study, the philosophy of the history of thought. Its most fundamental questions can be taken to be: 1) What is the basic theoretical unit in the history of thought? 2) How does change take place and how can it be described? 3) What kind of reasons are there for change? Why is there a change in a particular case? The existing confusions around the commitments and basic vocabulary used in contemporary historiography makes the establishment of this field important. Recognizing that there is such a discipline is necessary in order to enable concentration on the fundamental theoretical issues. It is likely that progress on theoretical questions and better awareness of the implicit commitments would have a positive impact on historical practice. (shrink)
There are multiple manners of defining Jewishphilosophy. The controversies woven around this topic seem to leave the issue perpetually open instead of determining a unique and final perspective. However, this outcome is indubitably an indication of the fact that Jewishphilosophy proposes a privileged manner of understanding Judaism through the encounter between philosophy and religion as a founding polar- ity of a creative tradition. One of the ways of asserting this polarity has gained the (...) symbolic dimension of superimposing two cultural paradigms. This has been expressed through the metaphor of two cities, namely Jerusalem and Athens, and through the metaphor of two lands, Greece and Israel. Out of these symbolic designations I will bring into discussion the standpoints of Leo Strauss and Abraham Joshua Heschel and will try to offer a new perspective over this issue. (shrink)
Introduction : what is medieval Jewishphilosophy? -- The existence of God -- God and creation -- Divine attributes -- Prophecy -- Rationalising the commandments -- Freewill and omniscience -- The good life -- The bad life.
The Hebrew Bible: glimpses of immortality -- Early post-biblical literature: gateways to heaven and hell -- The mishnah: who will merit the world to come? -- The Talmud: what happens in the next world? -- Medieval Jewishphilosophy: faith and reason -- Mysticism: reincarnation in Kabbalah -- Modernity: what do we believe? -- The Messiah: the eternal thread of hope.
Autonomy in JewishPhilosophy examines an important theme in Jewish thought from the Book of Genesis to the present day. Although it is customary to view Judaism as a legalistic faith leaving little room for free thought or individual expression, Kenneth Seeskin argues that this view is wrong. Where some see the essence of the religion as strict obedience to divine commands, Seeskin claims that God does not just command but forms a partnership with humans requiring the (...) consent of both parties. Looking at classic texts from Biblical, Rabbinic, and philosophical literature, Seeskin shows that Judaism has always respected freedom of conscience and assigned an important role to the power of human reason. The book considers both existing arguments and presents new ideas about the role of autonomy in Judaism. Clear and concise, it offers a refreshing alternative to the mysticism and dogmatism prevalent in much of the recent literature. (shrink)