Kabbalah and Philosophy in the Early Works of Salomon Maimon

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Until recent times, the collection of Salomon Maimon’s early works written in Hebrew, Hesheq Shelomo , was not included into the scientific circulation. An article of professor Gideon Freudenthal on the formation of the young Maimon, filled this lacuna, proving the importance of the analysis of philosopher’s early works for the comprehension of his literary heritage in general. Freudenthal had studied and published Maimon’s introduction to Hesheq Shelomo , and then one of the collection’s treatises, Ma‘аse Livnat ha-Sаppir , consecrated to the ideas and notions of kabbalah (published at the end of 2019). In his analysis Freudenthal had focused on Maimon’s rational interpretation of kabbalah. The present article represents an attempt to expand Freudenthal’s research, adding an analysis of another aspect of young Maimon’s thought. We will try to show that kabbalah, generally understood by early Maimon as ancient Jewish knowledge, had, according to the thinker, to complete philosophy and mitigate arising in it problems. In his early works Maimon was not only criticizing widely occurring “profane” kabbalah, but also Maimonides’ philosophy. According to Maimon, it is not possible to understand the true kabbalah without philosophy, but philosophical knowledge is not complete and often erroneous without kabbalah: the true kabbalah rectifies and adjusts it. The critic of Aristotelianism and its derivate, proposed by Maimon in his early works (probably under the influence of Hasdai Crescas), can add clarity to the understanding of the development of his philosophical thought in the late period.

About the authors

Uri Gershowitz

St. Petersburg State University

Author for correspondence.
Email: gershovichuri@gmail.com

PhD, assistant professor, Department of Jewish Culture, Institute of Philosophy, St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia; member of The International Center for University Teaching of Jewish Civilization, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

7-9, Universitetskaya nab., St. Petersburg, Russian Federation, 119034


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