#84 A Journey Through Jewish Philosophy (6)

The sixth instalment of David’s Jewish Philosophy lecture series considers two renowned, sometimes controversial, philosophers living during the Enlightenment:

  • Baruch Spinoza, and
  • Moses Mendelssohn.

Watch the lecture here: https://youtu.be/IC_bZTM55yA

In the first part of this Zoom lecture, David examines the ideas and impact of Baruch Spinoza, including the ultimate cause of his excommunication from the Jewish community. He explores concepts developed by Spinoza in his books:

In the first part of this Zoom lecture, David examines the ideas and impact of Baruch Spinoza, including the ultimate cause of his excommunication from the Jewish community. He explores concepts developed by Spinoza in his books:

Tractatus Theologico–Politicus (Theologico-Political Treatise), which provides a defence of secular thought, and

Ethics, which discusses:

  • reality is God
  • the universe (God) is necessary and determined
  • miracles do not exist
  • there is no free will
  • the pursuit of reason leads to freedom.

For Moses Mendelssohn, David explains, the challenge was to reveal religion in the Age of Reason. Mendelssohn’s book, Jerusalem, explores:

  • the Torah as revealed law
  • differences in nature and the laws of the Jewish people
  • reason as the true religion of humanity
  • the test of religious truth and its effect on conduct.

As with previous lectures, David provides historical context for both philosophers, describing their 17th and 18th century worlds. He also tackles some of the beliefs and misconceptions about these figures, many of which have carried through to today.

Continue reading “#84 A Journey Through Jewish Philosophy (6)”

#77 Revelation & Revolution: Jewish History of the 18th Century (4)

Although many of the remarkable developments in 18th-century Jewish life were set within the boundaries of Europe and Ashkenazi Jewry, so much was happening beyond this region.
In this fascinating podcast episode, David explores some of the most remarkable events, personalities, and contributions of Jews in the Sephardic communities of the 1700s, centred in the:
  • Ottoman Empire
  • Land of Israel.

In doing so, he discusses:

  • Yehudah HaChasid
  • Avraham Revigo
  • R. Emmanuel Chai Rikki
  • R. Chayim Abulafia
  • R. Chayim ibn Attar, the Or Hachayim
  • R. Shalom Shar’abi, the Rashash.
View of Jerusalem, from the manuscript of the Georgian travelogue by Timothy Gabashvili between 1755 and 1759. Public domain.

He also relays stories of some of the most notable emissaries from the Land of Israel to the diaspora, including:

  • R. Haim Yosef David Azulai ben Yitzhak Zerachia, the Hida
  • R. Moshe Malchi
  • R. Raphael Carigal.

The lecture also considers developments in the “new world”, including:

In the Americas –

  • Francis Salvador
  • Haym Salomon

and in the colony of New South Wales, which was to become part of Australia –

  • Esther Abrahams
  • Joseph Samuel.

David concludes the lecture by returning to Europe in the final years of the 18th century to look at the enormous changes happening across the continent and their implications for Jewish life in the coming century.