10412 Jewish Philosophy in the Middle Ages from Sa'adiah Gaon to Rambam (Maimonides)

Credits: 6 intermediate credits in Jewish Thought

Prerequisites: none

Recommended: Courses in Judaic Studies and in Philosophy

Author: Raphael Jospe

The course deals with the development of Jewish philosophy in the Middle Ages from Sa’adiah Ga’on (882-942) to Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon (Rambam – Maimonides, 1138-1204), and focuses on important themes in the thought of the early Jewish philosophers and their relationship to various schools of thought. Selections from the writings of Jewish philosophers are studied and compared to similar and differing positions in Judaism as well as in Greek and Arabic philosophic sources.

Topics: Introduction – the dawn of Jewish philosophy, Sa’adiah Ga’on and the Kalam, Jewish neo-Platonism – Isaac Israeli and Solomon ibn Gabirol, Bahya ibn Paquda; Philosophical exegesis of the Bible – Abraham ibn Ezra, Judah Ha-Levi and critique of philosophy, the transition to Aristotelianism: Abraham ibn Daud; Maimonides – principles of Judaism, Moreh Nevokhim (Guide of the Perplexed).