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Vigilant Society, A

Jewish Thought and the State in Medieval Spain

Javier Roiz, Selma L. Margaretten

Publication Year: 2013

Uncovers a fundamental change that took place in Western thinking, especially its departure from the Sephardic philosophy found in the Iberian Peninsula during the thirteenth century.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-9

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pp. ix-xiv

This book is envisioned as a chance to enter into a dialogue with the reader, as the author also seeks to learn and contrast ideas. Like all books of an interdisciplinary nature or ones that touch on different fields, there may be errors or imprecision. Moreover, I wish to advance that I have not attempted a historical investigation...


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pp. xv-17

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Chapter 1: Knowledge and Power

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pp. 1-41

The need to live perpetually under the protection of a foreign entity has always been a characteristic of the Jewish people in the Diaspora. The life of its communities has always depended on the laws of those regimes and their territorial protection. As a consequence, the Jewish quarters have always had to rely on the law...

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Chapter 2: Moses Maimonides and the Politics of Dialectics

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pp. 43-65

In his Treatise on the Art of Logic (Maqala fi Sina’ at al-Mantiq) written in his youth, Maimonides maintained that political science is divided into four parts: the government of the individual, the government of the home, the government of the city, and the government of the...

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Chapter 3: The Gothic World Comes to the South

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pp. 67-106

Beginning with his Treatise on Logic, an early work written in Arabic, Maimonides understood political science as the knowledge concerning he who commands and he who obeys, as well as the ability to do away with corruption.2 Strangely enough, among the ingredients that made up this science, he included...

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Chapter 4: Kabbalah and Political Power

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pp. 107-151

One of the problems in the transmission of knowledge is the difficulty of transmitting what one has acquired through experience. How can we pass on to another person a portion of our own life? Western pedagogical tradition has always tried to convert knowledge into digestible fragments through systems of the transmission...

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Chapter 5: The Zohar

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pp. 153-180

The Zohar (Sefer ha-Zohar), Book of Splendor, represents the highest point of inspiration within medieval Spanish kabbalah.2 This book, with its unique structure, appeared in Castile at the end of the thirteenth century. From its very beginnings it appeared as a mysterious work because it was presented as an ancient...

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Chapter 6: Toward a Vigilant Society

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pp. 181-227

In Spanish-speaking countries discussions about Judaism are often marked by ideological suspicion, guilt, or a settling of scores. It is not often that we think carefully about the subject about to be considered under this heading. Unfortunately, it is a matter in which misunderstandings are often accepted as truths. In reality...

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Chapter 7: Conclusions

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pp. 229-236

The twenty-first century has shown that it is openly in favor of a society that we might term “vigilant.” Perhaps it would be better to say that first it was necessary to prepare a vigilant society to establish the future State in the West. This society is characterized by several main points that function as axioms...


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pp. 237-283


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pp. 285-298


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pp. 299-310

Back Cover

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p. 328-328

E-ISBN-13: 9781438445649
Print-ISBN-13: 9781438445632

Page Count: 326
Publication Year: 2013