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Prophecy : The History of an Idea in Medieval Jewish Philosophy - Howard Kreisel


The History of an Idea in Medieval Jewish Philosophy

Hardcover Published: 31st July 2001
ISBN: 9780792371243
Number Of Pages: 671

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More than any other topic, prophecy represents the point at which the Divine meets the human, the Absolute meets the relative. How can a human being attain the Word of God? In what manner does God, when conceived as eternal and transcendent, address corporeal, transitory creatures? What happens to God's divine Truth when it is beheld by minds limited in their power to apprehend, and influenced by the intellectual currents of their time and place? How were these issues viewed by the great Jewish philosophers of the past, who took the divine communication and all it entails seriously, while at the same time desired to understand it as much as humanly possible in the course of dealing with a myriad of other issues that occupied their attention?

This book offers an in-depth study of prophecy in the thought of seven of the leading medieval Jewish philosophers: R. Saadiah Gaon, R. Judah Halevi, Maimonides, Gersonides, R. Hasdai Crescas, R. Joseph Albo and Baruch Spinoza. It attempts to capture the original voice' of these thinkers by looking at the intellectual milieus in which they developed their philosophies, and by carefully analyzing their views in their textual contexts. It also deals with the relation between the earlier approaches and the later ones. Overall, this book presents a significant model for narrating the history of an idea.

Industry Reviews

"This is an excellent study. This study is recommended for specialists in medieval Jewish Philosophy but it should also be of interest to students in other areas of the history of Jewish thought."
(Religious Studies Review, 28:4, October 2002)

Acknowledgementsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
The Book of Beliefs and Opinions
Introductionp. 27
The Role of Prophecyp. 35
The Verification of Prophecyp. 42
The Nature of the Prophetic Phenomenonp. 56
Prophecy in R. Saadiah's Other Writingsp. 69
Conclusionp. 90
The Kuzari
Introductionp. 94
Prophecy in the View of Halevi's "Philosopher"p. 105
Prophecy as an Empirically Verifiable Supernatural Phenomenonp. 111
Prophecy and the Perfection of the Individualp. 118
Prophecy in Kuzari 4.3-17p. 125
The Amr Ilahip. 136
Conclusionp. 140
The Guide of the Perplexed
Introductionp. 148
Prophecy in the Early Writingsp. 157
Commentary on the Mishnahp. 157
Introduction to the Commentary on the Mishnahp. 158
Introduction to the Commentary on Pereq Heleqp. 167
Introduction to the Commentary on Avot (Eight Chapters)p. 178
Mishneh Torahp. 182
The Epistle to the Jews of Yemenp. 205
Prophecy in The Guide of the Perplexedp. 210
Preliminary Remarksp. 210
Prophecy in Part 1 and in the Beginning of Part 2 of the Guidep. 211
Maimonides' Formal Discussion of Prophecy: Guide 2.32-48p. 221
Chapter 32: Three Opinions Concerning Prophecyp. 222
Chapters 33-35: The Revelation at Sinai and Mosaic Prophecyp. 230
Chapters 36-38: Description of the Phenomenon of Prophecyp. 239
Chapters 39-40: Divine Legislationp. 257
Chapters 41-44: Dream and Vision Prophecyp. 263
Chapter 45: Levels of Prophecyp. 270
Chapters 46-48: Concluding Discussionp. 284
Prophecy in Part 3 of the Guidep. 289
Conclusionp. 305
Postscript: The Treatise on Resurrectionp. 312
The Wars of the Lord
Introductionp. 316
Prophecy in the Commentary on Averroes' Epitome of Parva Naturaliap. 326
Prophecy in The Wars of the Lordp. 350
Preliminary Remarksp. 350
Book 2: Dreams, Divination and Prophecyp. 352
Nature of the Phenomena, Subject Matter, Agent and Purposep. 353
Problemsp. 359
More Problemsp. 380
Levels of Prophecy and Divinationp. 383
Book 4: Providencep. 390
Book 6, Part 2: Creation, Miracles and the Verification of Prophecyp. 392
Prophecy in Gersonides' Bible Commentariesp. 399
Conclusionp. 419
The Light of the Lord
Introductionp. 425
Book 1, Section 3, Chapter 3: Divine Unityp. 431
Book 2, Section 1: God's Knowledge of Particularsp. 435
Book 2, Section 2: Providencep. 439
Book 2, Section 4: Prophecyp. 443
The Nature of Prophecyp. 444
Characteristics of Prophecyp. 449
Problemsp. 457
Conditions for the Attainment of Prophecyp. 465
Book 2, Section 6: The Purpose of the Torahp. 468
Book 3, Section 6: Mosaic Prophecyp. 471
The Miracles of Mosesp. 472
The Nature of Moses' Prophecyp. 474
Other Beliefs Relating to Prophecy: The Urim and Tummimp. 477
Conclusionp. 478
The Book of Principles
Introductionp. 486
Lawp. 497
The Existence of Godp. 501
Torah from Heavenp. 508
Introduction to the Discourse on Prophecyp. 508
Definition, Purpose and Levels of Prophecyp. 513
The Eternity of the Torahp. 525
The Verification of Prophecy and the Prophecy of Mosesp. 528
Reward and Punishmentp. 535
Conclusionp. 539
Tractatus Theologico-Politicus
Introductionp. 544
Preface to Tractatus Theologico-Politicusp. 558
Prophecy and Prophetsp. 561
Prophecy and the Hebrews, Divine Law and Jewish Ritualp. 567
Prophecy in the Other Chapters of the Tractatus Theologico-Politicusp. 579
Conclusionp. 581
Epiloguep. 587
The Idea of Prophecy in Medieval Jewish Philosophy: An Overview
The Medium and the Message: Between the Treatise and the Idea
I Think What I Read
Natural, Supernatural and Magical
Prophecy and Language
The Prophetic Experience
Prophetic Knowledge
The Idea of Prophecy in Modern Jewish Thought
A Final Word
Bibliographyp. 641
Indexp. 655
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780792371243
ISBN-10: 0792371240
Series: Amsterdam Studies in Jewish Thought
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 671
Published: 31st July 2001
Publisher: Springer
Country of Publication: NL
Dimensions (cm): 24.69 x 15.95  x 4.22
Weight (kg): 1.17