Neoplatonism and Jewish Thought

Edited by Lenn E. Goodman

Subjects: Neoplatonism
Series: Studies in Neoplatonism: Ancient and Modern, Volume 7
Paperback : 9780791413401, 470 pages, July 1992
Hardcover : 9780791413395, 470 pages, July 1992

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Table of contents

List of Abbreviations

R. Baine Harris

Editor's Introduction: Thematizing a Tradition
L. E. Goodman

Philo's Conception of the Divine Nature
David Winston

Solomon Ibn Gabirol's Doctrine of Intelligible Matter
John M. Dillon

Parallel Structures in the Metaphysics of Iamblichus and Ibn Gabirol
C. K. Mathis II

Ibn Gabirol: The Sage among the Schoolmen
Bernard McGinn

From What is One and Simple only What is One and Simple Can Come to Be
Arthur Hyman

Maimonides and Neoplatonism: Challenge and Response
Alfred L. Ivry

Maimonidean Naturalism
L. E. Goodman

The Virtue of Faith
Menachem Kellner

Why Not Pursue the Metaphor of Artisan and View God's Knowledge as Practical?
David B. Burrell, C. S.C.

Matter as Creature and Matter as the Source of Evil: Maimonides and Aquinas
Idit Dobbs-Weinstein

Divine Unity in Maimonides, the Tosafists and Me'iri
J. David Bleich

Platonic Themes in Gersonides' Doctrine of the Active Intellect
Seymour Feldman

Utterance and Ineffability in Jewish Neoplatonism
Steven T. Katz

Self-Contraction of the Godhead in Kabbalistic Theology
David Novak

Jewish Kabbalah and Platonism in the Middle Ages and Renaissance
Moshe Idel

Love and Intellect in Leone Ebrea: The Joys and Pains of Human Passion
Hubert Dethier

Spinoza, Neoplatonic Kabbalist?
Richard Popkin

The Psychodynamics of Neoplatonic Ontology
Robert B. McLaren


The Contributors



This book deals primarily with the problem of the one and the many. The problems of creation, of evil, of revelation, and of ethics are all treated as special cases of the general problem of relating the finite to the infinite, the many to the one. The authors focus on the unifying theme of mediation, the means by which the Absolute relates to the here and now. The principal figures studied include Philo, Plotinus, Iamblichus, Isaac Israeli, Avicenna, Ibn Gabirol, Al-Ghazâlî, Abraham Ibn Daud, Maimonides, Averroes, Albertus Magnus, Aquinas, Gersonides, Nahmanides, Ibn Falaquera, Narboni, Albalag, Leone Ebreo (Judah Abarbanel), and Spinoza, as well as such Kabbalistic thinkers as Bahir, Cordovero, Luria, Moses de Leon, Ya'akov ben Sheshet, Isaac the Blind, Menahem Renanti, Shem Tov ben Shem Tov, Azriel of Gerona, Alemanno, Luzzato, Cordovero, and Abraham Herrera.

The authors include David Winston, John Dillon, Carl Mathis, Bernard McGinn, Arthur Hyman, Alfred Ivry, Lenn E. Goodman, Menachem Kellner, David Burrell, Idit Dobbs-Weinstein, David Bleich, Seymour Feldman, Steven Katz, Moshe Idel, David Novak, Hubert Dethier, Richard Popkin, and Robert McLaren. Taken together, these essays offer an impressive historical survey of the ideas, achievements, and philosophic struggles of a group of men who worked to form a unique and durable tradition that bridged the gap between rival confessions and sects—mystics, rationalists, and empiricists; Jews, Christians, and Muslims. This is a philosophic source whose vitality is not yet exhausted.

Lenn E. Goodman is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.