Athens in Jerusalem: Jewish Philosophy and Western Thought

Term: Fall 2009

Subject Code: GPHI

Course Number: 6098

What is Jewish philosophy? Even if not reducible to theology, it involves an attempt to account for the Jewish religion in terms of "Greek" philosophy, that is, the broader Western conception of reason as conceived at the time. Though the Rabbinical religion has by and large been inhospitable to philosophy-which had to fight for its right to exist-there have been nevertheless some remarkable attempts to make a philosophical space for Athens within Jerusalem. The lecture will follow a selection of such attempts, from antiquity (the Apocrypha and Philo of Alexandria ), the Middle Ages (Maimonides), early modern times (Spinoza), the Enlightenment (Moses Mendelssohn), 19th-century liberal Kantianism, and 20th-century post-Enlightenment thought (Buber, Levinas).

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