The novelty in Rosenzweig’s new ways of thinking lies in the fact that, unlike the traditional view, in his thought philosophy is the discipline containing a subjective element, whereas religion is more objective since it is founded on revelation. These complementary differences help the philosopher rethink Judaism and Jewish identity in the context of the spiritual crisis of the secularized Judaism of his time. Starting with the analysis of this reconstruction of philosophy, this text attempts to (...) present a balanced perspective on Rosenzweig’s vision of the relation between Judaism and Christianity. We will not single out the common elements or those that separate these two monotheist religions; setting Judaism and Christianity on the same level is considered to be a compensatory gesture towards Judaism and Jewish tradition. There is in Rosenzweig a significant moment of approach toward Christianity, especially to a Christianity without Christ, but Rosenzweig opts for a different solution, that of building a new philosophy based on Judaism. Moshe Idel’s analysis suggests that it is the Kabbalistic mysticism that Rosenzweig redefines in order to propose a new way of thought based on both philosophy and religion. Thus, Rosenzweig gives new meaning to the balance of divine and human in the field of religion. (shrink)
"Neusner moves beyond the interpretation of individual texts to grasp as wholes two systems of Judaism, that of the Mishnah and that represented by Rabbinic documents of the fifth century. He thus provides an entirely fresh approach and a new answer to the central question 'What is Judaism?' At the same time, by providing a sound model for the evaluation and comparison of diverse religious systems, this book has an important place within the study of the history of (...) religions in general."--Alan J. Avery-Peck, author of The Talmud of the Land of Israel: Shebiit An eminent scholar of the history of Judaism, Jacob Neusner shows in this work how Judaism changed from a philosophy to a religion between 200 and 400 C.E. The Transformation of Judaism is a work both revolutionary in its method and unprecedented in its results. Comparing earlier and later sets of Judaic writings, Neusner sets forth how philosophy--abstract, elegant, orderly, and intellectual--turned into religion--tangible, down-to-earth, chaotic, and concrete. In the process, he offers an account of the birth of Judaism that has become normative. Moreover, Neusner's methodology can be applied to the study of religions other than Judaism because it examines the underpinnings of how a society sees the world (philosophy), orders itself (politics), and sustains itself (economics). "This prolific author provides in this book yet another of his clear and scholarly explorations into the nature of Judaism... Scholarly detail does not preclude clarity of style and more general reflection on the character of religion in relation to other modes of thought."--Peter Byrne, Religious Studies. (shrink)
Introduction: in search of a Jewish renaissance -- Jewish philosophy: 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 Jewish philosophy -- 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)
Present Hope is a compelling exploration of how we think philosophically about the present. Andrew Benjamin considers examples in philosophy, architecture and poetry to illustrate crucial themes of loss, memory, tragedy, hope and modernity. The book uses the work of Walter Benjamin and Martin Heidegger to illustrate the ways the notion of hope was weaved into their philosophies. Andrew Benjamin maintains that hope is a vital part of the present, rather than an expression only of the future. Present Hope (...) shows how Judaism and philosophy interact; how the Holocaust provides an important link between modernity and the present. Benjamin's writings on the significance of the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the poetry of Paul Celan unite toward understanding the present. (shrink)
Abstract Proceeding from Jewish philosophy'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 Jewish philosophy as an unresolvable entanglement in a dialectic of heteronomy and autonomy.
The Islamic philosophical tradition was the privileged site for the study and continuation of the Classical philosophical tradition in the Middle Ages. An initial chapter on the history of Islamic philosophy sets the stage for sixteen articles on issues across the Islamic, Jewish and Christian traditions. The goal is to see the Islamic tradition in its own richness and complexity as the context of much Jewish intellectual work. Taken together, these two traditions provide the wider context to which Latin (...) Christian intellectuals would turn. The articles are grouped under six topics relevant both to the period and to current philosophical interest: the Islamic philosophical context, the nature of philosophy in the Middle Ages, Neoplatonism and the activity of the soul, creation, virtue, and the Latin reception. Since the nineteenth century Islamic and Jewish philosophy have been neglected in the standard histories of medieval philosophy. The time is right to begin to write a more balanced history of medieval philosophy. In order to begin to write this history, this book focuses on the Islamic, Jewish, and Christian use of - and reaction to - Classical philosophy during the Middle Ages. (shrink)
This book is intended not only for scholars and students in humanities, history (esp. the history of ideas), Jewish studies, philosophy (esp. the history of philosophy), and Christian theology, but also for those concerned with the roots of anti-Semitism and with the need for toleration and intercultural pluralism. Modernity and the Final Aim of History: * Combines the development of German philosophy from the Enlightenment to Idealism, and from Idealism to the revolutionary turning-point of the mid-nineteenth century (...) with the Jewish question; * Shows the close entwining of anti-Jewish prejudices with awareness of the importance of Judaism in the formation of modern thought; * Points out the hopes, obstacles, compromises, and disappointments of Jewish emancipation right up to the appearance of racial anti-Semitism; * Traces the changes in the debate over Judaism from the theological perspective to the philosophical and from the philosophical to that of the economic and naturalistic; * Underlines the dangers to toleration that arise from seeing human history as directed towards a single aim; *Can be used in university courses and seminars, as well as in research groups. (shrink)
Autonomy in Jewish Philosophy 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)
Modern Jewish philosophy 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 Jewish philosophy: 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 Jewish philosophy over a period of four centuries. (shrink)
pt. 1. lecture 1. Philosophy and religion as traditions ; lecture 2. Plato's inquiries ; lecture 3. Plato's spirituality ; lecture 4. Plato and Aristotle ; lecture 5. Plotinus ; lecture 6. The Jewish scriptures ; lecture 7. Platonist philosophy and scriptural religion ; lecture 8. The New Testament ; lecture 9. Rabbinic Judaism ; lecture 10. Church Fathers ; lecture 11. The development of Christian Platonism ; lecture 12. Jewish rationalism and mysticism (six cassettes) -- pt. (...) 2. lecture 13. Classical theism-proofs and attributes of God ; lecture 14. Medieval Christian theology-nature and grace ; lecture 15. Late-medieval nominalism and Christian mysticism ; lecture 16. Protestantism-problems of grace ; lecture 17. Descartes, Locke, and the crisis of modernity ; lecture 18. Leibniz and theodicy ; lecture 19. Hume's Critique of religion ; lecture 20. Kant-reason limited to experience ; lecture 21. Kant-morality as the basis of religion ; lecture 22. Schleiermacher-feeling as the basis of religion (five cassettes) -- pt. 3. lecture 23. Hegel-a philosophical history of religion ; lecture 24. Marx and the hermeneutics of suspicion ; lecture 25. Kierkegaard-existentialism and the leap of faith ; lecture 26. Nietzsche-critic of Christian morality ; lecture 27. Neo-orthodoxy-the subject and object of faith ; lecture 28. Encountering the biblical other-Buber and Levinas ; lecture 29. Process philosophy-God in time ; lecture 30. Logical empiricism and the meaning of religion ; lecture 31. Reformed epistemology and the rationality of belief ; lecture 32. Conclusion-philosophy and religion today (five cassettes). (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)
The question of how to justify our practices is central in both general and Jewish philosophy. In this book Daniel Rynhold critiques abstract approaches to justifying Jewish practice from the history of Jewish philosophy. Instead, he suggests a more practical model for justifying practices that he terms the Priority of Practice approach, illustrating thereby how Jewish philosophy can make a genuine contribution to general philosophical debates.
This innovative book investigates "being Jewish” not as a sectarian religiosity but as a way of being-in-the-world particularly suited to understanding Heidegger's early phenomenology. At its core is an intimate engagement with “sacred texts,” which grounds “being Jewish” in a way of life constituted as a way of reading—a way of reading transmitted to succeeding generations as a passionate teaching. Allen Scult argues that Heidegger was similarly involved in a passionate attempt to introduce his students to philosophical practice through a (...) personal engagement with the words of Aristotle. Scult traces the hermeneutical affinity— even intimacy—between Judaism as a way of life, grounded in an intense interpretive relationship to the Torah; and Heidegger's view of philosophical practice, as a similarly intense interpretive relationship to the founding texts of Western philosophy. In tracing the dynamics of this relationship in Heideggerian and Jewish hermeneutics, Scult not only finds mutually enlightening points of contact between the two, but also uncovers new ways of understanding how Heidegger’s fundamental ontology is grounded in the lived experience of religion. Allen Scult is National Endowment for the Humanities Professor of Philosophy and Rhetoric at Drake University. He is co-author of Rhetoric and Biblical Interpretation. “Being Jewish/Reading Heidegger ponders what it means to read Heidegger on his own terms, that is, to read him from the place where one is, in Heidegger’s language, in and from the facticity of one’s own Being... To be Jewish, according to Scult, is to be entexted with Torah. Scult argues that this notion of binding one’s being with a textual tradition underlies Heidegger’s theory of Dasein. He uses Heidegger’s lectures on Aristotle’s Rhetoric to illustrate how Heidegger ‘reads Aristotle’ and, in doing so. . . teach[es] the Jew how to be-Jewish-in-the-world through an engagement with a textual tradition (Torah). .Shaul Magid, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America “a compelling account of how being-Jewish enacts the sort of concrete, revealing relationship to a text and a world that makes meditation on being, as Heidegger - early and late - understands it, possible. Only someone with Allen Scult's trained ear for the subtle interplay of rhetoric and hermeneutics could make us see the remarkable parallels between the Rabbis' reading of the Torah and Heidegger's reading of Aristotle….he makes a trenchant case for ‘a reading of Heidegger not as prophet, but as Rabbinic sage’.”--Daniel O. Dahlstrom, Boston University. (shrink)
Revelation and the God of Israel explores the concept of revelation as it emerges from the Hebrew Scriptures and is interpreted in Jewish philosophy and theology. The first part is a study in intellectual history that attempts to answer the question, what is the best possible understanding of revelation. The second part is a study in constructive theology and attempts to answer the question, is it reasonable to affirm belief in revelation. Here Norbert M. Samuelson focuses on the challenges (...) given from a variety of contemporary academic disciplines, including evolutionary psychology, political ethics, analytic philosophy of religion, and source critical studies of the Bible. This important book offers a unique approach to theological questions and fresh solutions to them and will appeal to those interested in the history of philosophy, religious thought, and Judaism. (shrink)
This work focuses on Latin Judaica and Biblical interpretation with a primary emphasis on texts that were found in the library of Archbishop Narcissus Marsh of Dublin. This remarkable collection of Latin Judaica, Polyglot Bibles, and other works sheds light on the way in which the Protestant Reformation dealt both with Jews, and the Bible, the Jewish Kabbalah and religious toleration or intolerance. The articles contained herein will be of especial interest to historians of religion and philosophy, and (...) those dealing with Jewish-Christian relations and the manner in which Biblical interpretation was changed as a result of seventeenth-century influences. The articles also weave a new approach to the broad history of religious toleration. Philosophers, political thinkers, religious clerics, and budding anthropologists look at Judaism, Christianity, Kabbalah, and the Bible under a new and vastly more modern lens. (shrink)
With extraordinary chutzpa and deep philosophical seriousness, Solomon ben Joshua of Lithuania renamed himself after his medieval intellectual hero, Moses Maimonides. Maimon was perhaps the most brilliant and certainly the most controversial figure of the late-eighteenth century Jewish Enlightenment. He scandalized rabbinic authorities, embarrassed Moses Mendelssohn, provoked Kant, charmed Goethe, and inspired Fichte, among others. This is the first study of Maimon to integrate his idiosyncratic philosophical idealism with his popular autobiography, and with his early unpublished exegetical, mystical, and Maimonidean (...) work in Hebrew. In doing so, it illuminates the intellectual and spiritual possibilities open to a European Jew at the turn of the eighteenth century. (shrink)
Speech : an eye that sees, an ear that hears -- Time : considerations of temporal priority or posteriority do not enter into the Torah -- Space : the land of Israel is holier than all lands -- Analysis : hierarchical classification and the law's philosophical demonstration of monotheism -- Mixtures -- Analysis : intentionality -- Integrating the system -- Living in the kingdom of God.
The fundamental message of Jewish thought in Levinas' version can be summarized by the following quote: It ties the meaning of all experiences to the ethical relation among humans; it appears to the personal responsibility of man, who, thereby, knows himself irreplaceable to realize a human society in which humans treat one another as humans. This realization of the just society is ipso facto an elevation of man to the society with God. This society is human happiness itself and the (...) meaning of life. Therefore, to say that the meaning of the real must be understood in function of ethics, is to say that the universe is sacred. But it is sacred in an ethical sense. Ethics is an optics of the divine. No relation to God is more right or more immediate.The Divine cannot manifest itself except through the neighbor. For a Jew, incarnation is neither possible, nor necessary. After all, Jeremiah himself said it: ‘To judge the case of the poor and the miserable, is not that to know me? says the Eternal’. DL 209. The quote at the end is from Jerem. 22:16.The One who is revealed in this ethical religion differs greatly from the almighty and triumphant God whose image dominates any thought in which politics procures the highest perspective. The ‘Master of the world’ is power-less against human violence and sin, vulnerable and persecuted. His passing by is not in the thunderstorm, not in the earthquake, and not in the fire either, but ‘after the fire there was a voice of subtle silence’ (1 Kings 19:11–12). God penetrates the world almost imperceptibly, in extreme humility. AV 211–212 (ECED). Cf. Kierkegaard vivant (Paris: Gallimard 1966), pp. 286–288. (shrink)
Consciously writing from a Jewish background, thirty-five esteemed authors, from Britain, Canada, Israel, and the United States cover the whole breadth of Jewish philosophy, 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 Jewish philosophy. 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 Jewish philosophy exists. The broad range of ideas in this volume makes it an invaluable sourcebook on the nature of Jewish philosophy. (shrink)
This book surveys the vast body of medieval Jewish philosophy, 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.
Faith in reason, reason in faith -- The nature of God, the God of nature -- Torah from heaven -- Divine providence -- The oral Torah and rabbinic tradition -- Religion and superstition -- Israel and humanity -- Conversion to Judaism -- Eternal Torah, changing times -- Faith and reason.
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)
The problems of evil and suffering have been extensively discussed in Jewish philosophy, 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)
God is good : the harmony between Judaism and enlightenment philosophy -- Philosophy and law : shaping Judaism for the modern world -- Either/or : Jacobi's attack on the moderate enlightenment -- Enlightenment reoriented : Mendelssohn's pragmatic religious idealism.