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Creation, Time, And Biblical Hermeneutics In Early Modern Jewish Philosophy

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Chapter Summary

Tension between religion and science characterizes the very essence of Jewish philosophy. While the story of the interaction between Jewish and Scholastic philosophers is incomplete, nevertheless, recent scholars have begun to examine the impact of scholasticism upon late medieval Jewish philosophy. Contending with Maimonides for the title of most influential Jewish philosopher of all time, Spinoza is also one of the most unique and important early modern philosophers. One possibility lies in Spinoza?s application of the paradigm of mathematical certainty to biblical hermeneutics. For Spinoza, geometry itself is taken to be paradigmatic of mathematical certainty. For Spinoza, the Joshua example is used not only to bring home his rejection of supernatural miracles, but also as an example of how to approach an account in Scripture in light of scientific knowledge.

Keywords: biblical hermeneutics; Jewish philosophy; Joshua; Maimonides; scholasticism; Spinoza



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