Judaism as Philosophy: Studies in Maimonides and the Medieval Jewish Philosophers of Provence

Judaism as Philosophy: Studies in Maimonides and the Medieval Jewish Philosophers of Provence


Howard Kreisel

Series: Emunot: Jewish Philosophy and Kabbalah
ISBN: 9781618111791 (hardcover)
Pages: 486 pp.
Publication Date: October 2015

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The studies comprising this volume, most of them appearing for the first time in English, deal with some of the main topics in Maimonides’ philosophy and that of his followers in Provence. At the heart of these topics lies the issue of whether they adopted a completely naturalistic picture of the workings of the world order, or left room for the volitional activity of God in history. These topics include divine law, creation, the Account of the Chariot, prophet and sage, Mosaic prophecy, reasons for the commandments, and prayer. Special attention is paid to three lesser known but highly significant Provençal Jewish thinkers: Moses Ibn Tibbon, Levi ben Avraham, and Nissim ben Moses of Marseille.

Howard (Haim) Kreisel teaches in the Department of Jewish Thought at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He holds the Miriam Martha Hubert Chair in Jewish Thought and is the Director of the Goldstein-Goren International Center for Jewish Thought. He has written extensively in the field of medieval Jewish philosophy. Among the books he has authored are Maimonides’ Political Thought and Prophecy: The History of an Idea in Medieval Jewish Philosophy.

Table of Contents


Section I: Maimonides

1. Maimonides’ God: The God of Abraham or the God of Aristotle?
2. Maimonides on Divine Religion
3. Maimonides on the Eternity of the World

Section II: Three Jewish Philosophers of Provence

4. Moses Ibn Tibbon: Translator and Philosophical Exegete
5. Levi ben Avraham and his Encyclopedia of Philosophy and Judaism, Livyat Ḥen
6. Nissim of Marseille and his Radical Philosophic Commentary on the Torah

Section III: The Reception of Maimonides in Medieval Provençal Jewish Philosophy

7. From Esotericism to Science: The Account of the Chariot in Maimonidean Philosophy till the End of the Thirteenth Century
8. Sage and Prophet in the Thought of Maimonides and the Jewish Philosophers of Provence
9. The Prophecy of Moses in Medieval Jewish Provençal Philosophy: Natural or Supernatural?
10. Reasons for the Commandments in Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed and in Provençal Jewish Philosophy
11. From Dialogue to Contemplation: The Transformation of the Meaning of Prayer in Maimonides and the Medieval Jewish Philosophers of Provence