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Philosophy and Rabbinic Culture is a study of the great, and curiously underappreciated, engagement of a Medieval European Jewish community with the philosophic tradition. This lucid description of the Languedocian Jewish community's multigenerational cultivation of - and acculturation to - scientific and philosophic teachings into Judaism fulfils a major desideratum in Jewish cultural history.
In the first detailed account of this long-forgotten Jewish community and its cultural ideal, the author gives an expansive reappraisal of the role of the philosophic interpretation in rabbinic culture and medieval Judaism. Looking at how the cultural ideal of Languedocian Jewry continued to develop and flourish throughout the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, with particular reference to the literary style and religious teaching of the great Talmudist, Menahem ha-Meiri, Stern explores issues such as Meiri’s theory of "civilized religions", including Christianity and Islam, controversy over philosophy and philosophic allegory in Languedoc and Catalonia, and the cultural significance of the medical use of astrological images.
This book will be of great interest to scholars and students of Religion, of Judaism in particular, and of Philosophy, History and Medieval Europe, as well as those interested in Jewish-Christian relations.