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Law, Reason, and Morality in Medieval Jewish PhilosophySadia Gaon, Bahya ibn Pakuda, and Moses Maimonides$
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Jonathan Jacobs

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199542833

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199542833.001.0001

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Athens, Jerusalem, and Jewish Moral Thought

Athens, Jerusalem, and Jewish Moral Thought

(p.10) 1 Athens, Jerusalem, and Jewish Moral Thought
Law, Reason, and Morality in Medieval Jewish Philosophy

Jonathan Jacobs (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter explains some key features of how the thinkers in question viewed the relation between reason and revelation, and between God and human beings. The respect in which Saadia, Bahya, and Maimonides understood reason and religion to have a common object is centrally important. They understood Judaism to involve commands to cultivate the intellect and to strive for perfection through a mutually reinforcing spiral of intellectual and ethical activity. The main outline of the relation between understanding and ethical activity is described. That issue is placed in the overall context of the relation between ‘Athens’ (rational philosophy) and ‘Jerusalem’ (revelation and faith).

Keywords:   Athens and Jerusalem, moral psychology, metaethics, perfectionism, rationalism, realism

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