Philo: Foundations of Religious Philosophy in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Volumes 1-2

Philo: Foundations of Religious Philosophy in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Volumes 1-2

Harry A. Wolfson


Few students nowadays try and produce whatever which
could be known as a magnum opus. Wolfson is without doubt one of the few;
and while it truly is remembered that the 2 huge volumes before
us signify a comparatively small a part of his overall project, he
must be placed into the leading edge of even that little crew. For it
is Wolfson's plan to give a background of philosophy which will
begin with a minimum of one quantity at the Greeks, then consider
Philo as the following, then provide the total improvement of philosophy
in Christian, Islamic, and Jewish circles of the center Ages,
and ultimately express the beginnings of the hot age the place Spinoza
breaks the development of medieval suggestion and returns to the Greek
approach. Wolfson believes that medieval philosophy had a
distinctive personality since it had a particular resource of
knowledge rather overseas to either the Greek and glossy thinkers,
the resource we often name "revelation," yet which Wolfson calls
the "preamble of faith" (p. v). The moderns, just like the Greeks,
try through remark, speculation, and instinct, no matter what these
words suggest, to find the reality concerning the nature of guy, and
the nature of his setting as much as and together with God himself.
The medieval international needed to sq. all such facts of "reason"
with the information in their encouraged Scriptures the place the answers
were all given. greater than this, the medievalists needed to square
their purposes with a philosophical culture which determined
how Scripture itself used to be to be interpreted, Wolfson says, for in
revealed beginning, through which philosophy, the made from erring
human cause, needed to be validated and purged and purified." These
inflexible rules, Wolfson keeps in his Preface, have been all
worked out via none except Philo himself, and so "the philosophy
of Philo" got here to be "the such a lot dominant strength in the
history of philosophy right down to the 17th century."

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