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Gersonides (1288–1344)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-J023-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 24, 2024, from

Article Summary

Living all his life in southern France, Levi ben Gershom, known as Gersonides in Latin texts, was an accomplished astronomer and mathematician as well as a philosopher. A prolific and engaged exegete, Gersonides wrote biblical commentaries that are still studied today. His philosophical magnum opus, Milhamot ha-Shem (The Wars of the Lord), reached original and often unorthodox conclusions regarding many of the great issues of medieval philosophical theology. It denied creation ex nihilo, preferring a modified version of the doctrine of formatio mundi traditionally ascribed to Plato (formation of the world from pre-existing matter). It qualified traditional doctrines of divine omniscience by denying God’s determinate knowledge of future contingent events. And it confined personal immortality to the rational portion of the soul, that is, the intellect.

Citing this article:
Feldman, Seymour. Gersonides (1288–1344), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-J023-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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