RLG202Y1 Lecture Notes - Shannara, Córdoba, Andalusia, Tiferet
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March 6, 13
- Different schools of thought:
- Kalam (Church Fathers)– Islamic theology – Western take on
- Neo-Platonism – (Plato) – Developed by Philo and Plotinus –
Allowed for the fact that the world emanates from a one (what ever
that one is). The origin of everything – They believe that emanation
occurs in different stages: intellect, soul, world, + one more.
- Aristotelianism – (Aristotle) – He is the father of science. Most
profound and serious challenge to religion. Empiricism
- Philo Judeas – Forgotten by the Jews (until the 16thC)
- Harry Woolfson – Theory that Western theology begin with Philo
and ends with Spinozza.
- Isaac Israeli – Book of Definitions and Book of Elements – Taken
seriously by Christians – Maimonides denounced him.
- Saadia Gaon – The Book of Beliefs and Opinions – First high point –
Responded to the Karaites.
- Bahya ibn Pakuda – in the Neo-platonic school – how you can use
science and rational ethics to get closer to G-d.
- Solomon ibn Gabirol – The Source of Life – a dialogue and treis to
answer the question of emanation of the one, divine will, and neo-
- Judah HaLevi – The Kuzari – Dialogue between a Kzar king and the
person who converted him.
- Abraham ibn Daud – Spanish – 1110 – 1180 – First one to embrace
aristotilianism – The Sublime Faith
- Levi Gersonides – Southern France – (Ralbag) – Invented certain
microcscope and early cameras – wrote commentaries on
commentaries of Aristotle. The Wars of Lord. – Tires to take
Christian philosophy – he comes close to Deism.
- Hisdai Crescas - The Light of the Lord - Critic of Maimonides –
philosophy is incompatible with religion. Accepts the idea of a
- Judah Abrovanel – Dialogues on love – signals on modern times.
- In 1985 – UNESCO held an international conference – Celebrate the
850 anniversary of Maimonides.
- 1135 – 1204
- From Moses to Moses, there‟s non like Moses – Showing how he is
equivalent to Moses the prophet.
- Everyone after Maimonides just argue if he was right or wrong.
- Born in Cordova, Spain and died in Cairo, Egypt
- Had to leave Spain because of the Almoeds – Had to choose
between the exile or convert to Islam.
- Became a doctor – Taken on by the Sultan of Cairo – The physician
of the Sultan and his family.
- No official position in the Jewish world.
- 2 truth claims, philosophy/science and religion/faith – he brought
both together in harmony.
- Also known as Rambam (Rabbi Moses Ben Moshe)
- Also known as the great eagle – Can see more, protective of young,
threatens to attack.
- Decisive influence on all of Jewish philosophy.
- Influence in modern Judaism.
- Mendelssohn, Herman Cohen, Leo Strauss, Spinoza.
- Also on Arabic philosophy
- Major Works:
- 1) Guide of the Perplexed – Written in Judeo-Arabic – 1190 –
Limited readership. A scholar in Provence, France translated it to
Hebrew (Ibn Tibn). He writes this book in a format of a series of
letters to his student Rabbi Joseph – He is going to write it
esoterically – he also said he might contradict himself – he is
deliberately trying to mislead the ignorant. Deals with the question
of how to read the Bible. – They take what is on the surface to be
true. 1) Anthropomorphism – one of human‟s biggest mistakes – G-
d has no body – incorporeal – They read the Bible literally
(outstretched arm) – anyone who reads it this way is a fool/heretic.
Then 2) Critic of the Kalam – how to demonstrate the existence of
G-d, what a prophet is (made and rise), famous story of Ezekiel,
divine providence, question of human perfection.
- 2) The Law Code – Mishnah Torah – Encompasses areas which most
scholars have left out – things that have nothing to do with
contemporary Judaism – included the Temple laws, agricultural laws.
Turns repentance into a legal area. Deals with knowledge of both
Talmudim. His book is called - A repetition of the Torah, or The
Second Torah. Very bold statement. Account of messianic age –
they will be free of oppression and free to peruse knowledge. His
only work he wrote in Hebrew.
- 3) The Book of the Commandments – He ordered them by logical
ordered – not by the Torah.
- 4) Medical Treatises – Wrote on depression, another on sexual
intercourse, Medical aphorisms (a true physician should also be a
- 5) Scientific Treatises
- 6) Massive Commentary on the Mishnah – Started when he was 23
and finished at 33 – Massive preparation of his code of law.
Introduction to the section of Seeds. Wrote the 8 chapters – ethics,
- Introduction to the Sanhedrin – 13 principles of Jewish faith:
1) G-d exists
5) G-d is the only being fitting to worship
6) Prophecy is true
7) Moses is the greatest of the prophets
8) The Entire Torah was reveled by G-d
9) The Torah is eternal
10) G-d is omniscient
11) Rewards the virtuous and punishes the wicked
12) here will be a messiah
13) There will be an end of Days – there will be a miraculous
resurrection of the dead.
- 7) Wrote letters – Responsa – all over the Jewish world – turned
into separate books. Letter to the Jews of Yemen, Letter proving his
belief in resurrection, Letters to the Rabbis of Southern France
(what does he think of astrology? – He demolishes astrology – form
of idolatry – the reason they lost their kingdom). A letter on
martyrdom. Wrote a letter to a convert – He says that a convert is
a complete equal of a Jew.
- Why did he get in so much trouble?
- Maimonidean controversy – From 12th – 17thC.
- Very controversial
- 1) Denounces anyone who believes that G-d is a body is a heretic.
Abraham bin David wrote a reply to this – Better and wiser Jews
than he that G-d has a body. He agrees that G-d doesn't have a
body but you shouldn't be called a heretic if you did.
- 2) Does away with all anthropomorphic views of G-d by means of
the Allegorical Method – There‟s one thing on the surface and under.
– Once you see what is under the surface you don't need the
- 3) Used philosophy – a lot of people thought it was the opposite of
- 4) If he was sincere in his belief in the resurrection of the body. –
He never mentions it in the Guide to the Perplexed.
Kalam (church fathers) islamic theology western take on theology. Neo-platonism (plato) developed by philo and plotinus . Allowed for the fact that the world emanates from a one (what ever that one is). The origin of everything they believe that emanation occurs in different stages: intellect, soul, world, + one more. Aristotelianism (aristotle) he is the father of science. Philo judeas forgotten by the jews (until the 16thc) Harry woolfson theory that western theology begin with philo and ends with spinozza. Isaac israeli book of definitions and book of elements taken seriously by christians maimonides denounced him. Saadia gaon the book of beliefs and opinions first high point . Bahya ibn pakuda in the neo-platonic school how you can use science and rational ethics to get closer to g-d. Solomon ibn gabirol the source of life a dialogue and treis to answer the question of emanation of the one, divine will, and neo- platonism.