Hyman - Eschatological themes in medieval Jewish philosophy

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Arthur Hyman - Eschatological themes in medieval Jewish philosophy
The Wisconsin-Alpha Chapter of Phi Sigma Tau, the International Honor Society for Philosophy at Marquette University, each year invites a scholar to deliver a lecture in honor of St. Thomas Aquinas.
He has been Visiting Professor of Jewish Philosophy at Hebrew University, Jerusalem, in 1969-1970, and at Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan, in the summer of 1970. He has also been Visiting Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, the University of California, San Diego, Yale University, and The Catholic University of America, as well as the Lady Davis Visiting Professor at Hebrew University.

Arthur Hyman - Eschatological themes in medieval Jewish philosophy

Includes bibliographical references
The Aquinas lecture; Marquette University Press 2002 г. - 140
ISBN 0-87462-169-0

Arthur Hyman - Eschatological themes in medieval Jewish philosophy - Introduction

This volume, written on the occasion of the Aquinas lecture at Marquette University, had a twofold origin. Having taught history of philosophy and, especially, the history of Jewish philosophy for a number of years, I became intrigued by problems of eschatology—problems which lie at the borderline of philosophy and Jewish tradition. This interest grew so much so, that I decided to offer a course on “Jewish Eschatology” as one of my graduate offerings at Yeshiva University. This course I have now given regularly over a number of years. A second interest which motivated this volume was an interest in Aristotle’s psychological theories and their interpretation by the Hellenistic commentators, Alexander of Aphrodisias and Themistius, and the Muslim commentators, Avicenna and, especially, Averroes. It was the theories of these commentators that influenced the conceptions of the afterlife which were formulated by those philosophers who were followers of Aristotelian philosophy.
More immediately this volume was occasioned by a discussion which appeared at the end of Rabbi Moses ben Nah .man’s (1194-1270), or Nah.manides’ The Chapter on Reward (sha‘ ar ha-gemul), which forms part of a larger work known as Torat haAdam. In the larger work Nah.manides deals with matters pertaining to sickness, death, burial, and mourning customs, but in the Chapter on Reward he deals at length with matters of eschatology. He presents and criticizes the opinions of Ibn Gabirol and Maimonides (though he shows great respect for the latter) and then presents his own opinion and mentions approvingly the opinion of a predecessor, Saadiah Gaon. As Nah manides sees it there are two divergent opinions concerning eschatological topics. There are the opinions of those whose theories are based on philosophic psychology and then there are the opinions of those who consider eschatology as a continuation of history in some fashion. In addition, these varying theories emphasize different aspects of eschatology. While those who base themselves on philosophical psychology are primarily interested in the ultimate state of the intellect, which they identify with immortality, those who see the fate of the soul after death as part of a historical process are more interested in the resurrection of the dead and the state of the soul immediately after death.


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