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Crescas, Hasdai (c.1340–1410)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-J025-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved November 30, 2023, from

Article Summary

During the most tragic period of Spanish-Jewish history (1391–1492), Hasdai Crescas wrote a philosophical-theological treatise, Or Adonai (Light of the Lord), seeking to define and fortify the Jewish faith in the face of constant Christian attack. It is a polemical book, aiming to defend a traditional version of Judaism by criticizing the Aristotelian formulations proposed by such Jewish philosophers as Moses Maimonides and Levi ben Gershom (Gersonides). Since they relied on Aristotelian physics, Crescas began his reconstruction of Jewish theology with a demolition of Aristotle’s natural philosophy. He then turned to metaphysics in general and Jewish theology in particular. His constructive work was especially novel in its treatment of human choice, divine omniscience and creation. Aiming to defend traditional Jewish ideas, Crescas in the end broached some of the most radical challenges to be found within the medieval philosophical tradition, including the proposal that there might be numerous worlds other than our own, infinite magnitudes, and a void, or vacuum.

Citing this article:
Feldman, Seymour. Crescas, Hasdai (c.1340–1410), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-J025-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2023 Routledge.

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