Access to the full content is only available to members of institutions that have purchased access. If you belong to such an institution, please log in or find out more about how to order.



Albo, Joseph (c.1380–c.1444)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-J026-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved November 30, 2023, from

Article Summary

Writing in the early fifteenth century, in times of extreme urgency for Spanish Jewry, Joseph Albo presented Judaism as an axiomatic system founded on three primary principles and eight secondary ones. His Sefer ha-‘Iqqarim (Book of Principles), sought to defend Judaism against Christian attacks by laying out the basic presuppositions of the Mosaic law.

Albo’s theology belongs to a tradition of theorizing going back to Maimonides in the twelfth century. But his approach was grounded in a non-Maimonidean moral psychology. Responding to the Aristotelian intellectualism of the Maimonidean philosophy, which held true belief to be essential to human virtue and salvation, Albo focused on practice, fulfilment of the commandments. His act-centred view, grounded in the premise that beliefs cannot be commanded, allowed for a certain latitude in faith, which had both intra-communal and inter-communal advantages. If controversial doctrines such as ex nihilo creation could be made less prominent, acrimonious internal debates could be avoided, and the community could be somewhat less exposed to external attack.

Citing this article:
Frank, Daniel H.. Albo, Joseph (c.1380–c.1444), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-J026-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2023 Routledge.

Related Searches


Related Articles