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R. Bahya Ben Joseph Ibn Pakudah

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the thought of one Jewish thinker, R. Baḥya Ibn Pakudah, the author of The Duties of the Heart. It examines five major topics in which Baḥya starts from Saadia's position and goes beyond it: the identification of rational inquiry and Torah; knowledge of rational truth for its own sake; the divine attributes; the commandments; and the question of man's relating to the terrestrial world as his home. True religion in his view is that which results from the power of pure intellectual understanding, not from obedience to compulsory authority. In Baḥya's view, the most basic distinction is between duties of the heart and duties of the limbs. Abstinence is the condition to love of God, for according to Baḥya one cannot come to this love directly. R. Baḥya Ibn Pakudah expressed in his teaching a new intuition of reality, and he created a new religious ideal.

Keywords: abstinence; divine attributes; intellectual understanding; love of God; R. Baḥya Ben Joseph Ibn Pakudah



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