Studies in Religious Philosophy and Mysticism
The twelve studies here are arranged in three distinct groups – Arabic and Judaeo-Arabic philosophy, Jewish mysticism, and modern philosophy. One theme that appears in various forms and from different angles in the first two sections is that of ‘Images of the Divine’. It figures not only in the account of mystical imagery but also in the discussion of the ‘Know thyself’ motif, and is closely allied to the subject-matter of the studies dealing with man’s ascent to the vision of God and his ultimate felicity.
In the third section three thinkers are discussed: the English Deist, William Wollaston, who is shown to be steeped in the medieval Jewish traditions of philosophy and mysticism; Moses Mendelssohn, the philosopher of eighteenth-century Enlightenment, whose thesis asserting Spinoza’s influence on Leibniz’s doctrine of the pre-established Harmony is investigated critically; and Franz Rosenzweig, the most brilliant religious philosopher in twentieth-century Jewry, whose notion of History is analysed.
Originally published in 1969, this is an important work of Jewish philosophy.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1. The Delphic Maxim in Medieval Islam and Judaism 2. "The Ladder of Ascension” 3. Ibn Bājja on Man’s Ultimate Felicity 4. Essence and Existence in Maimonides 5. A Note on the Rabbinic Doctrine of Creation 6. Saadya’s Theory of Revelation: It’s Origin and Background 7. Eleazar of Worms’ Symbol of the Merkabah 8. The Motif of the "Shells" in Azriel of Gerona 9. Moses Narboni’s "Epistle on Shi ur Qomā" 10. William Wollaston: English Deist and Rabbinic Scholar 11. Moses Mendelssohn on Leibniz and Spinoza 12. Franz Rosenzweig on History
Alexander Altmann was formerly rabbi of the Berlin Jewish Community then communal rabbi of Manchester, where he founded and directed the Institute of Jewish Studies, now part of University College London. He moved to Brandeis University in Massachusetts as the Philip W. Lown Professor of Jewish Philosophy and History of Ideas in 1959 and was a leading Mendelssohn scholar.