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The Soul In Jewish Neoplatonism: A Case Study Of Abraham Ibn Ezra And Judah Halevi

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Chapter Summary

The universalism of Abraham ibn Ezra and the particularism of Judah Halevi, thus, represent two strands of Jewish existence that continue into the present. After giving brief biographical sketches of both ibn Ezra and Halevi, the author moves into a descriptive analysis of how each of these thinkers conceptualized the human soul, especially its relationship to the divine world. This chapter examines how both ibn Ezra and Halevi conceived of one particular part of the soul, the imagination, showing how this played an important role in their respective notions of prophecy. Like all Neoplatonists, ibn Ezra stresses the importance of self-knowledge. A rationalist interpretation offered by ibn Ezra was intimately connected to his intellectualist program for what he thought Judaism should look like, what its relationship to non-Jewish sources and cultures should be.

Keywords: Abraham Ibn Ezra; human soul; Jewish universalism; Judah Halevi; neoplatonists



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