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By Leonard Levin Eliezer Schweid

The end result of Eliezer Schweids life-work as Jewish highbrow historian, this five-volume paintings offers a entire, interdisciplinary account of the main thinkers and routine in sleek Jewish idea, within the context of common philosophy and Jewish social-political ancient advancements. a tremendous subject matter of the paintings is the reaction of Jewish concept to the increase and concern of Western humanism from the seventeenth during the twentieth centuries.Volume One, The interval of the Enlightenment, contains a methodological advent to the bigger paintings, in addition to thorough shows of Spinoza, Mendelssohn, Maimon, Ascher, Wessely, Schnaber and Krochmal. pill essays on Kant, Hegel, and Schelling spotlight the problems they bring up that might be of the most important value for Jewish idea.

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This occurred outside the Jewish community but within the preparatory stages of the general Enlightenment philosophy in the seventeenth century. For one of the outstanding philosophers who prepared the philosophy of the general Enlightenment and determined its relation to religion—Baruch Spinoza—was a Jewish philosopher whose early philosophical education was rooted in Jewish philosophy 8 The name of Maharal (Rabbi Judah Loew of Prague) is emblematic of the whole renaissance of philosophical and kabbalistic thought that took place in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in the Mediterranean lands and northern Europe.

These two problems expressed, from opposite sides of the barricade, awareness 32 introduction of a deep and continuing internal crisis. Philosophy was obliged to take responsibility for this crisis, since it had caused it and embodied it. Clearly, if there was any arena in which one could seek a solution in the hope that it would be found and would aid in overcoming this double crisis, it should be the arena of philosophical thought. We can see that in this way the two standpoints and two strategies of solution that had been developed in the traditional philosophy of religion were reconstituted.

The first natural reaction of traditional philosophers of religion was to reject the new and reaffirm the traditional positions with their old intellectual tools. However, the more that the limitations and difficulties of the new philosophy vis-à-vis religion became obvious, the more evident became the preferable alternative to use the new philosophical categories to reestablish religion, its faith, its values, its symbols, and its ways in the center of spiritual creativity of modern humanism. The emancipation of secular culture from the yoke of the religious framework did not succeed in displacing the concerns of faith, its symbols, or its imperatives from their central place in the modern cultural mainstream.

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