By Leonard Levin Eliezer Schweid

The fruits of Eliezer Schweids life-work as Jewish highbrow historian, this five-volume paintings presents a complete, interdisciplinary account of the most important thinkers and activities in sleek Jewish idea, within the context of common philosophy and Jewish social-political historic advancements. an incredible subject matter of the paintings is the reaction of Jewish proposal to the increase and predicament of Western humanism from the seventeenth during the twentieth centuries.Volume One, The interval of the Enlightenment, features a methodological creation to the bigger paintings, in addition to thorough shows of Spinoza, Mendelssohn, Maimon, Ascher, Wessely, Schnaber and Krochmal. pill essays on Kant, Hegel, and Schelling spotlight the problems they elevate that might be of an important value for Jewish concept.

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The canon contains a form of “wisdom literature,” but this is not scientific or philosophical wisdom, based on systematic rational investigation. The wisdom in this literature derived from prophetic inspiration and had the purpose of religious guidance. It focused on ethics, not in investigating nature or studying man as a natural creature. The fear of God was not only the beginning of wisdom, but its end as well. Clearly, a wisdom whose source is fear of God and that is directed to His service—a condition of human happiness and success—is not only ill-adapted to serve the development of science and philosophy.

6 Maimonides solved these problems by proving halakhically 6 See Leo Strauss, Philosophy and Law: Essays Toward the Understanding of Maimonides and His Predecessors, (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1987), Chapters 2–3. 24 introduction that the Torah requires scientific investigation and intellectual reflection as supreme religious values. Afterwards, he sought to demonstrate, by speculative definition of the boundaries of human reason and of the substantive difference that must exist between infinite divine reason and finite human reason, that there must be a supernatural truth whose source is in revelation.

For one of the outstanding philosophers who prepared the philosophy of the general Enlightenment and determined its relation to religion—Baruch Spinoza—was a Jewish philosopher whose early philosophical education was rooted in Jewish philosophy 8 The name of Maharal (Rabbi Judah Loew of Prague) is emblematic of the whole renaissance of philosophical and kabbalistic thought that took place in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in the Mediterranean lands and northern Europe. , Essential Papers on Jewish Culture in Renaissance and Baroque Italy, (New York: NYU Press, 1992), and Leonard Levin, Seeing With Both Eyes: Ephraim Luntshitz and the Polish Jewish Renaissance, (Leiden: Brill, 2008).

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