Reasoning and demonstration

Norbert M. Samuelson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Introduction This chapter examines the distinctive role of argumentation in the writings of the rabbis who lived after the codification of the Hebrew scriptures and before the political emancipation of the Jewish people in Europe. The subject is not formal logic in rabbinic Judaism. Rather, it is an examination of the way that logical thinking of a variety of types shaped the thought of sophisticated medieval rabbis about philosophical topics. The topic is extremely broad, so no attempt is made to claim that this study is complete; rather, eight examples are given and analyzed. Each example highlights how in very different ways the logic of an argument in itself shapes the content discussed and how the forms of an argument used have their own special history within Jewish philosophy. Before I turn to the examples themselves, let me place the subject of logic in medieval Jewish philosophy in its historical setting. The Study Of Logic In Premodern Jewish Philosophy The history of the development of the ancient schools of Hellenistic philosophy through the medieval schools of the Christians, the Muslims, and the Jews has been well documented, and our knowledge of that history continues to expand. This is especially true in the case of medieval Jewish philosophy in which new manuscripts are constantly being edited into critical editions and published with modern western language translations and commentaries. By at least the Roman periods there no longer were clear separations between schools of thought in the different academies in which philosophy was studied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge History of Jewish Philosophy
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Antiquity Through the Seventeenth Century
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages42
ISBN (Electronic)9781139055956
ISBN (Print)9780521843232
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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