In these lectures, David Solomon will examine how the Jewish idea of the messiah changed over history. He starts by explaining the messiah idea is the expectation that a special time or “end of days” will come when a leader or redeemer will make the world much better. David says this idea kept evolving based on the real circumstances Jewish people faced. This first lecture looks at where the messiah idea first began in the Hebrew Bible.
Part three of David Solomon’s lecture series on the Trei Asar, the twelve ‘minor’ prophets of Israel, examines the texts and themes of:
While these three books are short in length, David explains the importance of each, their place in the prophetic continuum, and how they sit in relation to significant moments in biblical and world history.
The lecture delves into the prophets’ exploration of:
the destruction of Assyria
the rise of Babylonia
the destruction of the enemies of Israel
the destruction of sinners
the fall of Jerusalem
the need for teshuva and self-improvement
justice for the nations
the role of God in history
the power of the God of Israel.
David provides a historical framework for each of the prophets. He reviews the details of their lives and puts the enormity of their words into context.
This second instalment of David Solomon’s series on the Trei Asar, the twelve “minor” prophets, explores the lives and books of:
Yonah (Jonah), and
David examines the historical contexts of all three prophets and how they are reflected in the texts. He also discusses the key themes in these three prophetic books, including:
national and individual teshuvah
the destruction of the Kingdom of Israel
false prophets and prophecy
Edom and its spiritual and geo-historical connections
destinations of exile
the importance of ethical and just behaviour.
In exploring these themes, David also delves into the words of these prophets. He examines, line-by-line, some of the key passages of the books and reveals the remarkable power and substance of these fundamental sacred works.
In addition to outlining the philosophical ideas of each of these figures, David reviews some of their shared intellectual themes, including their discussions on Jewish ethics, faith, and revelation, and the importance of moral relationships with others.
As always, David places these Jewish philosophers in their historical and cultural contexts, reviewing the impact of developments of the century on their thoughts and writings. In particular, he discusses the effect of the two seismic events of the twentieth century: the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel.
Explaining the impact of philosophers like Rosenzweig, Kierkegaard, Buber, Cohen, and Heidegger on the work of these six thinkers, David also discusses the personal devastation experienced by Levinas over Heidegger’s embrace of Nazism.
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.
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