The Thought of R. Joseph Albo

The Thought of R. Joseph Albo
Esoteric Writing in the Late Middle Ages
Dror Ehrlich

This book is the first comprehensive, methodological analysis of the religious-philosophical thought of R. Joseph Albo, author of the Sefer ha-'Ikkarim. Albo was active in Christian Spain in the first half of the fifteenth century, a period in which the Catholic Church exerted great pressure on the Jews in order to convince them to convert to Christianity. During this same time there was an ongoing dispute among Jewish thinkers between conservatives and rationalists regarding the role of philosophy in the formation of religious concepts. The book claims that Sefer Ha-'Ikkarim was written in an esoteric manner, similar to Maimonides' The Guide of the Perplexed, so that the author's true beliefs are concealed in different philosophical and theological discussions. A close study of Albo's discussions on many issues related to his theories on divinity, on humanity, onprovidence and on reward reveals his use of many literary and stylistic means of concealment. Analysis of his philosophical works in the light of the intellectual, cultural, social and political contexts in which he lived enables one to understand what caused Albo to write in this particular style. It is well know that there is a significant time gap between the original version of the first part of Sefer Ha-'Ikkarim and its final completion. This book reveals that there is also gap in content and in style between the first part and the three additional ones. This research sheds new light on Albo's philosophy, which was considered by most scholars of medieval Jewish philosophy to be conservative, eclectic, apologetic and unoriginal. The conclusion is that the key to a fitting understanding of Albo's thought lies in the identification and characterization of the art of his philosophic writing.
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Danacode:   110-20146 ISBN:  978-965-226-362-9 Language:   Hebrew Pages:   330 Weight:   750 gr Dimensions:  17X25 cm Publication Date:   12/2009 Publisher:   Bar-Ilan University Press

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