The Essence of Choice in Medieval Jewish Philosophy


Shalom Sadik

PublisherVan Leer Institute Press and Magnes Press
Language Hebrew
Year of Publication2017
Series Theory in Context Series

Free choice has been one of the main philosophical issues throughout the ages. The Essence of Choice in Medieval Jewish Philosophy offers a comprehensive analysis of the views of medieval Jewish philosophers on this topic. It presents various perspectives on the problem of free choice in philosophy in general and in Jewish philosophy in particular: Does free choice really exist, or is it an illusion? What is the attitude of the medieval philosophers toward what the Bible and the Sages have to say about free choice? Does Judaism have a substantive position on philosophical questions? What power can free a person from causal determinism?

The book discusses at length the opinions of twenty-one philosophers, from Al- Muqammis in the ninth century to Rabbi Joseph Albo in the fifteenth. This engagement with many philosophers demonstrates the richness of Jewish philosophy and the multiplicity of opinions in it, as well as how historical changes, such as the transition from Arabic to Hebrew, affect philosophical thought. On the basis of his historical analysis, the author argues that there is no fundamental Jewish position on the question of free choice and that one can find support in the religious texts for every philosophical view.

Dr. Shalom Sadik is a senior lecturer in the Department of Jewish Thought at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He has published many articles on the philosophy of the Conversos in Spain and on other topics in medieval philosophy. He has received many prizes for his scholarship, including the Pines Prize, the Warburg Prize, the Samuel Toledano Prize for young scholars, and the Switzerland-Israel Prize for Philosophy.

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