He examines the philosophical contributions of Hasdai Crescas, including his ideas on:
Divine knowledge replaced by Divine love
Divine omniscience, providence, and omnipotence
The purpose of the world and the happiness of the soul.
Crescas, who was known for his critique of Aristotle, had revolutionary ideas that would pave the way towards a new humanism.
David then discusses Yosef Albo, a student of Hasdai Crescas, and Albo’s ideas on:
The existence of God
Reward and punishment.
Albo recognised true faith through a series of derivatives (shorashim), known as:
God’s interested omniscience
Revelation through prophets
The authenticity of the prophets
His ideas led to a systematic theological restatement of Jewish belief on the eve of a new philosophical era.
With late Medieval Spain as the historical setting for both of these extraordinary figures, David provides their fascinating but fraught historical backgrounds, including the impact of the 1391 massacres in Barcelona on Crescas and the disputations at Tortossa for Albo.
For a historical overview of the period, watch David’s series ‘Hope in Darkness: Jewish History of the 14th & 15th centuries’ here.
Some of the central ideas that David examines in this talk include:
The Active Intellect as the agent of human knowledge
The evolving intersection between philosophy and Judaism
The rational and the revealed
The attributes of the Divine
The concept of Tselem
The relationship between science, philosophy, and revelation
The eternity of the world
The proof for the existence of Gd.
With the use of his own original illustrative graphics, David provides an overview of the ideas and contributions of these extraordinary figures. He also places all three in their respective historical and intellectual contexts.
For a historical overview of the period listen to David’s series, From the Rambam to the Zohar: Jewish History of 12th & 13th centuries, starting here.
This fourth talk in David’s eight-part series, A Journey Through Jewish Philosophy, was delivered on Zoom for Caulfield Shule in 2020.
This talk is the second instalment of David Solomon’s Jewish Philosophy series. In this episode, David examines the philosophical ideas and innovations of a towering figure of the early Middle Ages, Sa’adya ibn Yusuf al-Fayumi, commonly known as Sa’adya Gaon.
Watch the lecture here. Read the transcript below.
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