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The Early Modern Construction Of Medieval Jewish Thought

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Chapter Summary

This chapter outlines a two-fold argument in order to offer a contribution to the general discussion of 'early modern medievalisms' using early modern Jewish intellectual history as a case study. First, it sketches the broad outlines of an argument that a particular conceptualization of medieval Jewish philosophy prevailed as the mainstream in the early modern period from the late fifteenth century through the eighteenth-century period of the Jewish Enlightenment (Haskalah), and even into the nineteenth century. The chapter shows that this conception of medieval Jewish philosophy is well understood as a particular form of an 'early modern medievalism' that can be distinguished from medievalism as it operated in the (late) modern period. However, when one views the problem from the perspective of intellectual and cultural history rather than through the narrower lens of the history of philosophy, the relationship of medieval and modern becomes more complex.

Keywords: early modern medievalisms; Haskalah; medieval Jewish philosophy



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