Dialectic and Metaphysical Skepticism in Jacob Anatoli

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Jacob Anatoli (c. 1181–c. 1247 CE) would seem an unlikely skeptic. As the Hebrew translator responsible for bringing a complete program of Aristotelian logic to European Jewry, he is an unlikely skeptic of science. As author of one of the most influential medieval commentaries on the Bible, he is an unlikely skeptic of religious belief. Still, he advances arguments against the possibility of certain knowledge of both Aristotelian science and the tenets of belief. Yet, he does not recommend that thoughtful people reject science and uncritically adopt religious beliefs in the face of uncertainty. Nor does Anatoli recommend a suspension of judgement (epoche) that would allow for freedom from worry (ataraxia) or tranquility. Instead, he pushes constant dialogue, even debate between competing claims to knowledge. The life of the mind that Anatoli recommends, then, is a dialectical interrogation of science and religion that provides not freedom and tranquility but intellectual disquiet and toil.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-164
Number of pages22
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

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© 2021 Stiftelsen Theoria


  • Aristotelian
  • Averroes
  • Averroism
  • Jewish philosophy
  • Maimonides
  • medieval
  • skepticism


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