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IMC 2019: Sessions

Session 1228: Primordial Light, Oedipus, and Unity of the Intellect: Late Medieval Jewish Thought and Its Influences

Wednesday 3 July 2019, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Evelina Miteva, Philosophisches Seminar, Universität zu Köln
Paper 1228-aPrimordial Light and the Material World in the Zohar
(Language: English)
Miguel Beltrán, Departament de Filosofia, Universitat de les Illes Balears, Mallorca
Index terms: Biblical Studies, Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Philosophy, Theology
Paper 1228-bA Chivalric Exemplum for Gersonides's Biblical Gloss
(Language: English)
Leon Jacobowitz Efron, Department of Humanistic Studies, Shalem College, Jerusalem
Index terms: Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Language and Literature - French or Occitan, Manuscripts and Palaeography, Science
Paper 1228-cMedieval Averroism: The Influence of Averroes on Pico della Mirandola
(Language: English)
Darius Sepehri, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, University of Sydney
Index terms: Islamic and Arabic Studies, Philosophy, Theology

Paper -a:
The Zohar describes the point that gave origin to creation as a shapeless nucleus, issued from a supernal effulgence. There was a Primordial Light from which the first point developed, but it also was a light that burst when it expanded, emerging into being. In the paper we will try to prove that the accommodation of Primordial Light to the changes of the world is only possible as a perception of the recipients, and this makes us consider that the Zohar postulates a kind of acosmism, according to which changes in our material world exist only from our perspective.

Paper -b:
This paper will explore a short Hebrew text appearing in a 15th-century Italian manuscript hitherto unpublished. This short text is part of an eclectic collection of works in philosophy, astronomy, scriptural commentary, poetry, and short anecdotes. More interestingly, it presents what seems like a Hebrew version of a chivalric romance, complete with a young knight, a damsel in distress, and a type of dragon. Upon a closer examination, the text is revealed to be a medieval version of the Oedipus story based on a non-Jewish version of the Greek classic. Importantly to my argument, this 'oedipal anecdote' claims to be an exemplum of points made by Gersonides in his Biblical commentary. In fact, this claim to relevance to Jewish scholarship is the excuse allowing for this anecdote's very commitment to parchment.

Paper -c:
The Averroist thesis of the unity of the intellect was extremely controversial in medieval philosophy. Averroism was institutionally supported in universities and ecclesiastically denounced. Pico della Mirandola (1463-1494), who studied Averroism in Padua from 1480-1482, commissioned a Jewish Averroist, Elia del Medigo, to translate Averroes from Hebrew (texts unavailable in Latin) and to compose a commentary on Averroes. I will examine the influence of Averroes on Pico's text Conclusiones, focusing on Pico's reception of the unity of intellect thesis and examining the Averroist separation of religion and philosophy in connection to Pico's concordistic aims and theory of correspondences. I also examine del Medigo's Averroism in Pico's thought, uncovering sites of mediation between medieval Islamic, Jewish, and Christian traditions.