The Cambridge Companion to Modern Jewish Philosophy by Michael L. Morgan, Peter Eli Gordon

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By Michael L. Morgan, Peter Eli Gordon

Glossy Jewish philosophy emerged within the 17th century, with the influence of the hot technological know-how and sleek philosophy on thinkers who have been reflecting upon the character of Judaism and Jewish existence. This number of new essays examines the paintings of a number of of an important of those figures, from the 17th to the late-twentieth centuries, and addresses topics principal to the culture of recent Jewish philosophy: language and revelation, autonomy and authority, the matter of evil, messianism, the impact of Kant, and feminism. incorporated are essays on Spinoza, Mendelssohn, Cohen, Buber, Rosenzweig, Fackenheim, Soloveitchik, Strauss, and Levinas. different thinkers mentioned contain Maimon, Benjamin, Derrida, Scholem, and Arendt. The 16 unique essays are written by means of a world-renowned workforce of students specially for this quantity and provides a vast and wealthy photo of the culture of recent Jewish philosophy over a interval of 4 centuries.

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Extra info for The Cambridge Companion to Modern Jewish Philosophy (Cambridge Companions to Religion)

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But, as demanded by Spinoza’s metaphysics, there can be nothing literally supernatural about prophecy. ” But this means only that he is a person of extraordinary virtue and is devoted to piety with unusual constancy. The prophet is a kind of moral authority, and his teachings – to the extent that they are true – consist only in that simple message of the Divine Law. On the other hand, Spinoza insists, the prophet is not distinguished by any kind of intellectual or philosophical superiority. 25 Prophets excite the admiration and wonder of others only because the latter are ignorant of the causes of prophetic knowledge.

But the core (moral) message embedded in the visions and stories and parables related by the prophets should always be the same. Spinoza, with his emphasis on the role of the imagination and the natural foundation of prophecy is, to a certain degree, in good Jewish philosophical company. In fact, his position can be seen as a reductio of Maimonides’ more complex account in the Guide for the Perplexed. Maimonides believes that prophecy represents the culmination of the perfection of a person’s capacities – in particular, the perfection of his intellect, which receives from the Agent Intellect a divine overflow of cognition (a process accessible to any rational agent), and of his imagination, which represents that general intellectual content in the concrete form of a vision.

Spinoza’s God is not some just, wise, good, and providential being; it is not a personal being whom one would thank or bless or to whom one would pray or go to seek comfort. It is not a God that fosters a sense of awe and spiritual piety, nor does it sustain the hope of eternal reward or the fear of eternal punishment. In the Ethics, Spinoza strips God of all traditional psychological and moral characteristics. God, he argues, is substance, the ultimate and immanent reality of all things, and nothing more.

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