By Professor James A Diamond, Philip S Bernstein Chair of Jewish Studies Aaron W Hughes

The time period "medieval" plays very much extra highbrow paintings in sleek Jewish idea than just performing as a referent to a selected ancient period. through the 19th century, usually for Jews who have been more and more alienated from their very own culture, the "medieval" functioned basically as a bearer of identification in a quickly altering and secular international. each one bankruptcy in Encountering the Medieval in smooth Jewish Thought addresses a distinct go back to the medieval, starting from the Enlightenment to the modern interval, that clothed itself within the language of renewal and of retrieval. the quantity engages the whole complexity and diversity of which means the time period "medieval" includes for contemporary Jewish proposal.

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38 Common to both Geiger’s and Graetz’s constructions of Jewish history was the desire to make Judaism rational, both to themselves and to their readers. As such, they tended to ignore the halakhic dimensions of the thinkers they had signified as great; for example, there is rarely any mention of the Mishneh Torah, Maimonides’ legal compendium. By bringing order to the two thousand years of Jewish history, by plotting facts, events, and individuals on a rationalist grid, they highlighted, each in his own way and with their own set of emphases, the intellectualism perceived to structure and give meaning to Judaism throughout the millennia.

By thought-space I mean to consider the wide range of factors—often hidden factors—at play in the subtleties of meaningmaking within our contexts of thinking and living. In this sense, one might consider—without choosing between—a wide range of critical theories, including Heideggerian and post-Heideggerian traditions of hermeneutics, Foucaultian “archaeologies” of ideas, Kuhnian analyses of paradigms and paradigm shifts, feminist epistemologies of influence, Wittgensteinian-inspired considerations of “language games,” and insights from perspectivalist philosophy.

Anything that threatened this presentation was ignored or marginalized as nonessential. The Philosophical Uses of the “Medieval” A more sustained if less extreme treatment of the uses to which terms such as “medieval” (and concomitant terms such as “Neoplatonist,” “Platonic,” and “Aristotelian”) could be put comes from the philosopher Hermann Cohen (1842–1918). In his Charakteristik der Ethik Maimunis (Ethics of Maimonides) conceptualized in 1904 to mark the seven hundredth anniversary of the death of Maimonides, Cohen essentially re/writes the history of medieval Jewish philosophy from the perspective of (Platonic) ethics.

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