Abstract

The study discusses two passages from the early rabbinic corpus that describe encounters between sages and philosophers. Many of the classical and modern interpreters of these passages have understood them as embodying a tension between the Jewish world and the world of pagan philosophy. The present study suggests that though there is a clearly polemic aspect to these encounters, it is a more sophisticated polemic than has been previously recognized, one that assumes a high level of familiarity with philosophy on the part of the rabbinic sage. Indeed, the rabbi and the philosopher may be seen to share an anxiety concerning the proper representation of God, based on a series of shared assumptions regarding divine incorporeality. The interpretation offered here raises broader questions regarding the interrelations between (certain strata of) rabbinic society and pagan philosophy.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1553-0604
Print ISSN
0021-6682
Pages
pp. 149-179
Launched on MUSE
2006-04-05
Open Access
No
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