Seeing with Both Eyes: Ephraim Luntshitz and the by Leonard S. Levin

By Leonard S. Levin

This is often an built-in research of the revival of philosophical reviews in 16th-century central-European Jewry concentrating on seven significant thinkers and particularly at the highbrow improvement of Ephraim Luntshitz (1550-1619). Preoccupation with philosophy is traced via Moses Isserles, Solomon Luria, Mordecai Jaffe, Abraham Horowitz, Eliezer Ashkenazi, Maharal of Prague, and Ephraim Luntshitz. research of those thinkers' highbrow affiliations is predicated on shut research in their fundamental texts, of which a beneficiant choice is equipped in translation for the 1st time. This paintings advances the scholarly learn of 16th-century Polish-Jewish tradition, the Polish Jewish Renaissance, the philosophical pursuits of Ashkenazic Jewry, Jewish responses to Renaissance humanism and the Reformation, and the early-modern history for the 18th-century Jewish Enlightenment.

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Nevertheless by the turn of the 17th century, with Jaffe, Horowitz and Luntshitz all numbered among Polish Jewry’s leadership, we may say with some confidence that philosophy had received the certificate of legitimacy, and was established as a part of the accepted Polish-Jewish curriculum for a generation until it was overshadowed by kabbalah. Maharal had also broadened and mellowed after a slow start, and his later works (written during the period of his mentorship of the historian, astronomer, and polymath David Gans) endorse secular studies and show a wider acquaintance with general knowledge.

While citing Maimonides in defense of his right to pursue secular wisdom, Isserles retreats and says he does so only from kosher sources, and in his spare time: If I cited some words of Aristotle, heaven and earth will testify of me that I never in my life studied his works themselves, but only in the Guide where I labored and found, and books of nature such as The Gate of Heaven which our sages wrote. It is from them that I wrote what I wrote about Aristotle’s teachings. Why should I not? Did not Maimonides write in the Guide (II, 22) that whatever doctrines Aristotle arrived at pertaining to the sublunar realm, are true?

10 Did Ashkenazic Jews know Latin? Even more rarely. The reason that the University of Padua looms large as a center of Jewish exposure to general culture (especially medical studies) in this period is that it was practically unique for admitting students of dissenting religious Harold B. Segel, Renaissance Culture in Poland: The Rise of Humanism, 1470–1543, Cornell 1989, p. 250. 9 Chone Shmeruk, ‫ פרקים לתולדותיה‬:‫( ספרות יידיש‬Chapters in the History of Yiddish Literature), Tel Aviv University, 1978, pp.

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