By Eliezer Schweid
This ebook offers a typical reference of the main medieval Jewish philosophers, in addition to an eminently readable narrative of the process medieval Jewish philosophical suggestion, provided as a reaction to the spiritual-intellectual demanding situations.
Read Online or Download The Classic Jewish Philosophers: From Saadia Through the Renaissance PDF
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Additional info for The Classic Jewish Philosophers: From Saadia Through the Renaissance
Saadia considers it obligatory to reconcile his indubitable conclusion of reason with the Bible, and he does it by interpreting the text Àguratively. Moreover, he sees this reconciliation as required by the Bible itself, for we Ànd in the Bible the injunction not to depict God by any image, and not to compare Him to His creation. In that case, why does the Bible nevertheless have recourse to corporeal imagery? ”8 But it is possible to understand this injunction in different ways. According to Maimonides, these rabbinic words express the far-reaching difference between the understanding of the simple person and the philosopher.
God’s Positive Attributes and Conception of a Personal God In addition to the corporeal imagery of God we Ànd in the Bible positive attributes of another kind, attributes that conceive God as a personality acting from intentionality and will, namely the attributes Living, Powerful, Wise, and Willing. In Maimonides’s discussion of the divine attributes, he draws no distinction between these attributes and those which are grossly corporeal and anthropomorphic. In his view, only someone who does not understand the matter properly will treat the two differently.
Saadia’s rationalism does not believe in breaching the limits of experience and contemplating metaphysical truth. He only recognizes that experience points to a metaphysical reality of which we can know nothing. All philosophers agree on the crucial proposition that God is unknown. Nevertheless, they make a concerted effort to apprehend something of God’s metaphysical essence, as we shall see later. Saadia vehemently opposes this move. When he arrives at the uttermost limit of knowledge, he does not speculate further.