The Book of Job in Medieval Jewish Philosophy
Medieval Jewish philosophers have been studied extensively by modern scholars, but even though their philosophical thinking was often shaped by their interpretation of the Bible, relatively little attention has been paid to them as biblical interpreters. In this study, Robert Eisen breaks new ground by analyzing how six medieval Jewish philosophers approached the Book of Job. These thinkers covered are Saadiah Gaon, Moses Maimonides, Samuel ibn Tibbon, Zerahiah Hen, Gersonides, and Simon ben Zemah Duran. Eisen explores each philosopher's reading of Job on three levels: its relationship to interpretations of Job by previous Jewish philosophers, the way in which it grapples with the major difficulties in the text, and its interaction with the author's systematic philosophical thought. Eisen also examines the resonance between the readings of Job of medieval Jewish philosophers and those of modern biblical scholars. What emerges is a portrait of a school of Joban interpretation that was creative, original, and at times surprisingly radical. Eisen thus demonstrates that medieval Jewish philosophers were serious exegetes whom scholars cannot afford to ignore. By bringing a previously-overlooked aspect of these thinkers' work to light, Eisen adds new depth to our knowledge of both Jewish philosophy and biblical interpretation.
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2 Saadiah Gaon
4 Samuel ibn Tibbon
5 Zerahiah Hen
7 Simon ben Zemah Duran
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Abraham achieve intellectual perfection afflictions allegory angel argues Arundi Beliefs and Opinions believe biblical text Bildad Book of Job Christian cited commentary on Job commentators conception discussion divine trials Duran Duran’s earlier Elihu Elihu’s address Elihu’s remarks Eliphaz esoteric evil exegesis exegetical explain figure of Job form of providence Gersonides Guide ha-kelal Hebrew human Ibn Tibbon Ibn Tibbon’s reading Immanuel important individual providence insights interface interpretation of Job introduction issue Jews Job in medieval Job’s suffering Kabbalah Maimonidean Maimonides Maimonides and Ibn matter medieval Jewish philosophy modern monides Mu‘tazilites Nahfimanides natural noted notion Nuriel Ohev Mishpat one’s passage philosophical prophecy prophetic providential suffering punishment rabbinic sources Ravitzky reading of Job reference regarding represents retributive justice righteous Saadiah Saadiah Gaon Saadiah’s reading Samuel ibn Tibbon Satan scholars Schwartz section headed sins story theodicy thinkers tion Torah Touati traditional translation understanding verse Wars Zerahfiiah Hfien Zerahfiiah’s reading Zophar
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