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The Prophecy of Moses in Medieval Jewish Philosophy

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Chapter Summary

Saadia Gaon points out the grandeur of Moses' miracles and their great duration as confirming the truth of his mission. Judah Halevi follows Saadia's lead in positing the notion of the Created Glory in order to explain the revelation to Moses in which he beheld God's "back" but not His "face". Maimonides hints that Moses' prophecy too began in a naturalistic manner, the vision of the burning bush being a product of Moses' imagination. Spinoza's view of Mosaic prophecy emerges from his Theological-Political Treatise (1670). The discussions of the prophecy of Moses in the Middle Ages are very much connected to the belief in divine revelation and in the divine authority of the Bible, particularly the Pentateuch. It is the belief in Mosaic Law as the product of divine revelation that the medieval Jewish philosophical exegete shared with his prospective audience.

Keywords: Judah Halevi; medieval Jewish philosophical exegete; Moses Maimonides; Pentateuch; prophecy of Moses; Saadia Gaon; Spinoza



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