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The First Wave (1550–1580): Isserles, Jaffe, And Horowitz

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Chapter Summary

The ?first wave? of 16th-century Polish-Jewish philosophical learning may also be called the ?Isserles school.? Between his installation as Rabbi of Cracow in 1549 and his death in 1572, Moses Isserles numbered among his students many future luminaries who would contribute to the spread of philosophical learning. Most notable among these were Mordecai Jaffe, Abraham Horowitz, David Gans, and Menahem David Ticktin. In the 1570s, it was the sexagenarian Eliezer Ashkenazi who gave the Polish-Jewish renaissance a second wind by involving Maharal and Ephraim Luntshitz in philosophical debates. The chronology of Moses Isserles?s life and that of the Maimonidean revival in central Europe are so intertwined and this chapter takes a close look at both. Here, both Lawrence Kaplan and Joseph Davis have asserted the continuity of 16th-century Polish-Jewish rationalism with the previous study of philosophy in Ashkenazic Jewry dating from the 14th-century school of R. Yom Tov Lipmann Muelhausen.

Keywords: Abraham Horowitz; Eliezer Ashkenazi; Ephraim Luntshitz; Joseph Davis; Lawrence Kaplan; Maharal; Maimonidean; Mordecai Jaffe; Moses Isserles; Polish-Jewish renaissance



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