ND   JMC : History of Medieval Philosophy / by Maurice De Wulf

220. Philosophy among the Jews. Saadja. -- The Jewish philosophy -- as distinct from the mysticism that centred around the Cabala -- is characterized by its blending of Judaism with Grecian philosophy. This was perceptible even in Philo's system (83) and reappeared in the Middle Ages; but for the Grecian element assimilated by the Jews the latter are indebted to the Arabians. It has even been said that "the Jews alone made a really serious study of Arabian philosophy".{1} Among the writers on philosophy prior to the eleventh century, are ISAAC ISRAELI (fl. 940), physician and logician; DAVID BEN MERWAN the caraïte, and especially his contemporary and opponent, SAADJA (892-942), who is called the first Jewish philosopher. His principal work, "Amânât," the Book of Faith and Science, is the cornerstone of the religious philosophy of the Jews. It is an exposition and philosophical defence of the Jewish faith, composed about 933, with a view to showing the harmony that exists between reason and Jewish dogma. Its author is eclectic, drawing his arguments from Greeks and Arabian rationalists as well as from the orthodox Arabian writers. He wrote in Arabic, but there are two Hebrew versions of his work, one of which was completed in 1186 by Jehuda Ben Saul Ben Tibbon.

It was, however, chiefly in Spain that Jewish philosophy as well as Jewish science and literature flourished, owing to the large measure of freedom the race enjoyed under the rule of the Spanish Mussulmans.

{1} RENAN, op. cit., p. 173.

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