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Is their philosophy Jewish in some sense, and if so, only prior to their apostasy, critique or excommunication?Jewish sources, audience, motivation and impact have also been suggested as criteria for defining Jewish philosophy, but raise similar difficulties.Are the Greek works of *Philo, the Arabic works of all the medieval philosophers from *Saadiah Gaon to Maimonides, and the books written by modern Jewish philosophers in European languages, not to be considered Jewish?Returning to the biographical criteria, how are we to regard such philosophers as *Abner of Burgos, who wrote some of his works in Hebrew, but converted to Christianity; Abu al-Barakat al-Baghdadi, who converted to Islam; or free-thinkers like *Hiwi al-Balkhi, who attacked all religion, including Jewish; or Baruch *Spinoza, who was excommunicated?This article is arranged according to the following outline:what is jewish philosophy? In general, the question of "what is Jewish philosophy?recent histories of jewish philosophybiblical and rabbinic antecedents Bible Rabbinic Literaturehellenistic jewish philosophy Philo of Alexandria biblical exegesis god, logos, and the world souls knowledge and prophecy ethics and politicsmedieval period Sources and Translations Main Schools muʿtazilite kalĀm neoplatonism aristotelianism Critics of Aristotelianism Saadiah Gaon Other Rabbanite Followers of Kalām Karaites Isaac Israeli Solomon Ibn Gabirol Baḥya Ibn Paquda pseudo-baḤya Abraham Bar Ḥiyya Joseph Ibn Ẓaddik Moses and Abraham Ibn Ezra Judah Halevi god prophecy piety attitude toward philosophy Ḥibat Allah Nethanel al-Fayyūmī Abraham Ibn Daud Maimonides divine attributes god creation prophecy evil and divine providence analysis of the torah the messiah Hebrew Translators of the 13 Century Maimonidean Controversies samuel ibn tibbon jacob anatoli shem tov ben joseph ibn falaquera joseph ibn kaspi Hillel ben Samuel Isaac Albalag Abner of Burgos and Isaac Pollegar Moses of Narbonne Levi ben Gershom immortality prophecy predestination and divine providence divine attributes creation Ḥasdai Crescas basic principles of judaism space and infinity existence of god providence and freedom Simeon ben Ẓemaḥ Duran Joseph Albo Shem Tov Family, Abraham Shalom, and Isaac Arama Isaac and Judah Abrabanel Elijah Delmedigo Joseph Delmedigo Influences on Christian Thought Christian Scholastic Influences on Jewish Thoughtmodern period Introduction Spinoza Moses Mendelssohn Kant, Schelling, Hegel Solomon Formstecher Samuel Hirsch Nachman Krochmal S. " would have been alien to the medieval Jewish philosophers, who saw themselves as engaging not in something particularly "Jewish" in a cultural sense, but in philosophy as a science, indeed as the "mother of sciences." As "lovers of wisdom," they understood the truth to transcend cultural or religious boundaries, and had no problem agreeing with and borrowing from the classical Greek and medieval Arab philosophers.For the seeker of truth, nothing takes precedence over the truth" (Al-Kindi's Metaphysics, ed. Averroes on the Harmony of Religion and Philosophy, ed. "There is no clear consensus among Jewish philosophers and scholars of Jewish philosophy regarding the proper definition of the field.
Finkelstein (ed.), The Jews: Their History, Culture and Religion, 2 (1949), 954). It also underlies the approach of Arthur Hyman, who served as editor of the Jewish philosophy division of the first edition of the Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971) and who wrote the original Jewish Philosophy entry: "Jewish philosophy may be described as the explication of Jewish beliefs and practices by means of general philosophic concepts and norms.This religious orientation constitutes the distinctive character of Jewish philosophy" (Philosophies, p. "The great majority of Jewish thinkers made the philosophic justification of Judaism their main subject" (ibid, p. This view was explicitly shared by Alexander Altmann: "It would be futile to attempt a presentation of Judaism as a philosophic system, or to speak of Jewish philosophy in the same sense as one speaks of American, English, French or German philosophy.Judaism is a religion, and the truths it teaches are religious truths.The responses to "what is Jewish philosophy" include a denial of "Jewish philosophy" as an oxymoron; purely biographical or linguistic criteria; religious "philosophy of Judaism"; harmonizing Judaism and philosophy; essentialist message vs.
method; and contextual criteria, including Jewish sources, motives, audience, and impact.
The idea that Judaism has some identifiable and definable essence, presumed by Fackenheim, becomes much more pronounced in the essentialist approach of such scholars as Julius *Guttmann and Alexander *Altmann, for whom Jewish philosophy is the religious philosophy of Judaism, in other words, where Judaism has a religious essence and is the subject of the philosophical inquiry. The philosopher of religion philosophizes about religion, just as the philosopher of law philosophizes about law …