A History of Jewish Philosophy in the Middle Ages by Colette Sirat

By Colette Sirat

This publication surveys the tremendous physique of medieval Jewish philosophy, devoting plentiful dialogue to significant figures akin to Saadiah Gaon, Maimonides, Abraham Ibn Ezra, Judah Halevi, Abraham Ibn Daoud, and Gersonides, in addition to featuring the ancillary texts of lesser identified authors. Sirat prices little-known texts, delivering statement and situating them inside their old and philosophical contexts. A accomplished bibliography directs the reader to the texts themselves and to contemporary reviews.

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Out of these elements cameto-be the animals and the plants. (The Book of Spirit and Soul, trans. S. M. Stern, in Isaac Israeli, pp. 110-11) The Neoplatonists The Neoplatonists The mode of action of the Intellect and the souls differs from that of the spheres and the sublunary world. The first is a creation in the sense that nothing is lost of the essential light, and it is from the shadow of this light that the inferior beings are created. Beginning with the world of the spheres, the action of nature generates and corrupts, for the source of this action is diminished and changed by the action itself, which is exercised on bodies with opposite qualities.

E. Wedeck. In the Introduction I referred briefly to the history of this text, attributed by the scholastics to an Arab philosopher called Avicebron or Avencebrol. During the thirteenth century Shem Tov ben Joseph Falaquera made a Hebrew translation of portions of the Fountain of Life which he called, Mekor Hayyim, and these excerpts are preserved in an unique manuscript. S. Munk identified them with portions of the Latin work, published them and translated them into French, with the correct attribution.

Since imagination is the 'medium' of dream and of prophecy, it is at the core of the revealed Book, which is also clad in image and corporeality so that it may be understood by all men whatever their level of comprehension. T o be sure, the Divine Word provides keys to its interpretation, but only the philosopher is capable of recognizing and using them to decipher the whole Book, and fulfil God's design. Some of His words therein are unambiguous, self-evident, in no need of elucidation and interpretation.

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