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In Defence of Judaism. Sources and Structure of ha-Emunah by T.A.M. Fontaine

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By T.A.M. Fontaine

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Additional info for In Defence of Judaism. Sources and Structure of ha-Emunah ha-Ramah

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In what follows, then, I shall try as far as possible to avoid repeating what he has already written. Instead, I shall try where possible to augment the sources mentioned by him with references to later editions. 6 (the sections on the vegetative soul and the internal and external senses of the animal soul) and Ibn Daud's treatment of certain biological aspects the reader is referred to Bodenheimer. 14 2. The definition or the soul Ibn Daud characteri zes the soul as follows : ' It is the perfection

So far, his thesis has been based on the idea that the degree of balance in the mixture detennines the level of mental activity assigned to that mixture. There have been references to a process of development, with ever more exalted faculties being described. All this might give rise to the misapprehension that the soul is thus, after all, the result of a particular development of the organism, or at the very least that the corporeal is of decisive significance in its Origination. Now that Ibn Daud's discussion of the various faculties of the soul has been concluded with a discussion of the rational pan, which is much less corporeal even than the lower powers, he finds it more necessary than ever to answer the question of the origin of the soul without further delay.

Ibn Daud begins with the observation that it is given to man to understand general axioms and absttact concepts such as humanity, and he then raises the question of whether these concepts can actually be comprehended by a corporeal organ or power. If this is possible, it implies that abstract concepts are divisible, since the percipient faculty is corporeal and hence divisible. But abstract concepts are indivisible: they are not quantities. On the contrary, we know them precisely as being separate from matter, and therefore they cannot be known by something that is corporeal.

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