By Leonard S. Levin
This can be an built-in learn of the revival of philosophical experiences in 16th-century central-European Jewry targeting seven significant thinkers and particularly at the highbrow improvement of Ephraim Luntshitz (1550-1619). Preoccupation with philosophy is traced via Moses Isserles, Solomon Luria, Mordecai Jaffe, Abraham Horowitz, Eliezer Ashkenazi, Maharal of Prague, and Ephraim Luntshitz. research of those thinkers' highbrow affiliations relies on shut research in their fundamental texts, of which a beneficiant choice is supplied in translation for the 1st time. This paintings advances the scholarly examine of 16th-century Polish-Jewish tradition, the Polish Jewish Renaissance, the philosophical pursuits of Ashkenazic Jewry, Jewish responses to Renaissance humanism and the Reformation, and the early-modern history for the 18th-century Jewish Enlightenment.
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Extra resources for Seeing with Both Eyes: Ephraim Luntshitz and the Polish-jewish Renaissance
It seems rather that Luria is responding to the whole tone of Isserles’s letter, even the playful use he makes of traditional authorities. Isserles’s letter is not primarily intended as halakhic argument, though it dips into that genre occasionally. It is most akin to love-banter, imitating gentile Renaissance models, of which Isserles could see live examples in the behavior of the frequenters of the royal court of Cracow, and of which he may have heard of literary examples through his Jewish acquaintances who came from Spain and Italy.
Isserles tries to avoid and belittle this issue. He does not devote a separate heading to it in II, 2 but discusses it under the Second Proposition (the world’s annihilation). ” He then cites (apparently with approval) R. ” which reconciles the occurrence of miracles with the consistency of the divine will. It seems that Isserles wants to have the best of both worlds. He would like to defend the unchanging divine will, for this is a standard feature of the Maimonidean-philosophic conception of God and redounds to the divine glory.
The explosion of artistic and literary creativity which started with Giotto and Petrarch has continued unabated to the present day. The seeds of science which were planted in the Renaissance started yielding fruit with Galileo and Kepler, and laid the foundations for the crucial role which science has for our world-view on all sides of the present debates. —is as urgent today as it ever was. So, too, has the philosophical fashion of Ashkenazic Jewry from 1550 to 1620 proved a harbinger of modern Jewish thought.