Introduction into Jewish Philosophy Cover Image

Introduction into Jewish Philosophy
Introduction into Jewish Philosophy

Author(s): Timo Schmitz
Subject(s): Jewish Thought and Philosophy
Published by: Timo Schmitz

Summary/Abstract: To put it in a nutshell, modern Jewish philosophy has three epochs, the first starts in the Middle Ages, using influences from surrounding religions such as Islam, Christianity, but also classical philosophy (Platonism and Aristotelianism) and try to bring these schools in harmony with Judaism. The Jewish Kalam emphasize that God is the creator who created the universe ex nihilo and his creation can be observed and studied (through holy texts). God is a perfect undivided Being unreachable for man. Jewish Platonism is a two world concept. As such, all things in the perceptual world share a part of the ideal world, but in the perceptional world everything is made of matter and form which can be found everywhere and nothing is without matter and form as it is created, and this goes back to the first author. The second era is the era between Hasidic and enlightened philosophy. The Hasidic tradition continues religious interpretations and focusses on internal matters of the Jewish community, based on understanding the faith; while Secular Jews strive for societal integration and secular science. The third phase starts in the end of the 19th century with the rise of Proto-Zionism, which is neither really secular, nor in a religious continuation, but an atempt to reform Judaism by seeking the promised land and going back to Biblical origins. In contrast to these, Jewish philosophers also engaged in Socialism and anti-monarchical activities. The second and third phase mainly existed parallel. Anyways, to put it short, the three phases of Modern Jewish philosophy are ‘Middle Ages wisdom-seeking’ (c. 800-1400), the dispute between Hasidics and Maskilim (1770-1880), and Zionism vs. diaspora dispute (c.1860-1950).

  • Issue Year: 2/2018
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 42-46
  • Page Count: 5
  • Language: English