Contradiction and concealment in medieval Jewish thought

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This book proposes the thesis that the esoteric method cannot serve as a criterion for evaluating medieval thought. Since esoteric writings can be interpreted in various and conflicting manners there cannot be a definitive interpretation according to any one philosophical system. The book deals with two kinds of contradictions: the first, a contradiction between two books by the same author and the second, a contradiction within one book. It examines contradictions that may be explained from a political or a pedagogical point of view. The book opens with Ibn Gabirol's philosophy and suggests that he was the first Jewish medieval philosopher to use an esoteric style, due to political reasons. The book continues with analyses of the thought of figures such as Halevi, Maimonides, Gershonides and others, demonstrating how each can be explained in contradicting ways. The author concludes that whereas research of the esoteric method enriches our concept of medieval culture, it cannot lead to definite conclusions.
Original languageHebrew
PublisherBar-Ilan University
Number of pages354
StatePublished - 2002

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