Synopses - Master Course List

Classical Jewish Philosophy

Maimonides01:563:311
(cross-listed as 01:730:311)

Did you know that the first Jewish theology was written in Arabic? That medieval Jewish philosophers wrestled with the same questions about evil, ethics and God’s existence as we do today? In this course, we examine some great works of philosophy in their historical settings. We will do a select reading of four fascinating thinkers: Philo of Alexandria, Saadya Gaon, Judah Halevi, and Moses Maimonides. We will address the “meaning of life,” of the nature of God, and the problems of suffering and injustice. We will also see how Jewish thinkers were in conversation and conflict with the Christian and Islamic cultures of their days, how politics influences philosophy, and how philosophy was used as a practical tool for “virtuous living.” You don’t have to be Jewish—or a philosopher!—to appreciate classical Jewish philosophy.