Barry S. Kogan's “Understanding Prophecy: Four Traditions and their Early Modern Reception”

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

This essay examines the views of Isaac Israeli, Saadia Gaon, Judah Halevi, and Maimonides and the medieval theological and philosophic traditions that the respectively exemplify (Neo-Platonism, Scholastic Theology, empiricist Traditionalism informed by philosophy, and Neo-Platonic Aristotelianism) on prophecy and revelation and then turns to a discussion of how their views were received or rejected  by Spinoza in order to advance a radically different, modernist agenda.  The essay focuses in all cases on questions concerning the nature of prophecy in general, the circumstances under which it occurs, the specific character of Mosaic prophecy, the theophany at Mt. Sinai, and the truth value of prophetic claims generally.  It is written in order to be as accessible as possible to the non-philosophic reader and in the course of its expositions offers a number of novel interpretations of the thinkers discussed that suggest their views have much to offer thinking people of our own day and not just medieval times.

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Barry S. Kogan, “Understanding Prophecy: Four Traditions and their Early Modern Reception” The Cambridge History of Jewish Philosophy: From Antiquity through the Seventeenth Century, Steven Nadler & T. M. Rudavsky, eds. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), pp. 481-523.


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