1 This essay owes much to David Zvi Baneth's landmark study, "Judah Halevi and al-Ghazali"
which first appeared in German in the Korrespondenzblatt des Vereins zur Gruendung und Erhaltung einer Akademie fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums 5 (1924) 27-45. A Hebrew version of the same work appeared as "Rabbi Yehudah Ha-Levi Ve-Algazali" in Knesset: Divrei Soferim Le-Zeikher H.N.Bialik, Vol. 7, Tel Aviv: Devir, 1941-42, 311-329. An English translation of the original, but without the accompanying footnotes, was published as "Judah Halevi and Al-Ghazali" in Studies in Jewish Thought: An Anthology of German Jewish Scholarship. Selected, edited, and introduced by Alfred Jospe. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1981, 181-199. My own inquiry restricts itself to only one of the many topics discussed by Baneth, but examines it in greater depth and in terms of its fundamental presuppositions and implications. For Baneth's basic view of Halevi and al-Ghazali on philosophy and the philosophers, see especially the English version of his article, pp. 182184. I would like to thank Profs. Stephen F.Brown, Seymour Feldman, and Alfred Ivry for their helpful comments, criticisms, and suggestions in response to earlier versions of this discussion.
2 Dannhauser, "Athens and Jerusalem or Jerusalem and Athens?" in Novak, 1996, 159. Prof.
Dannhauser called attention to the conclusion of Goethe's observation in oral remarks accompanying the presentation of this paper at the University of Virginia on October 11, 1993. They do not appear in the published version of the paper.
3 McCarthy, 1980, 67, sec. 17; 123 n. 48. Al-Ghazali concludes the passage with this qualification: "But one who seeks the unseekable cannot subsequently be accused of negligence in seeking what is seekable." Since he plainly attributed his skeptical difficulties to seeking the unseekable, this remark seems to be offered as a reply to the anticipated philosophical objection that by giving credence to divine illuminations, or revelation, he was negligent in seeking what is seekable, i.e. natural, philosophically admissible solutions to the problem of skepticism. His reply would be that he had already pursued that option and discovered that it does not work unless one grants certain first principles on faith by simply "seeing" their plausibility.
4 Ground-breaking studies on the biography of Judah Halevi can be found in Kaufmann, 1877
(Heb., 1965), 166-207; Baron, 1941, 243-272, and Schirmann, 1979, 1:247-341. The most up-to-date outline of such a biography is provided in the fifth and final volume of S.D.Goitein's magisterial work, A Mediterranean Society: The Individual. See Goitein, 1988, 5:448-468 and passim. See index, s.v.Judah ha-Levi, poet, 651.
5 Ha-Levi. Kitab al-Radd DilllS ft"' 'SDin al-Dhalil (al-Kitab al-Khazah), 5:1:191.
Baneth with Ben-Shammai. Hereinafter, this work, also known in Hebrew as Sefer Ha-Kuzari will be abbreviated as Kitab al-Radd
6 Ha-Levi. Kitab al-Radd '^^«^5:2: 191. Baneth with Ben-Shammai. The translation here and in subsequent passages from the Kuzari is my own.
7 Ha-Levi. Kitab al-Radd ^'^^4:3. 157, Baneth with Ben-Shammai. Cf. McCarthy.
8 Ha-Levi. Kitab al-Radd W- *M>flW> 15. 8. Baneth with Ben-Shammai.
9 Ha-Levi, Kitab al-Radd ¡ Dafil, 1:25, 5:14: 12. 213, Baneth with Ben-Shammai.
10 Al-Ghazali, Incoherence, Religious Preface; 1-2. Cf. Tahafot al-Falasifat, [First] Introduction; 4, Bouyges. I would like to thank my teacher, Prof. Michael E. Marmura, for making a draft of his new translation of the preface and introduction to al-Ghazali's Tahafut (The Incoherence of the Philosophers) available to me while I was preparing an earlier version of this chapter.
11 Al-Ghazali, Incoherence, Religious Preface; 2, Marmura. Cf. Al-Ghazali, Tahafot, Preface; 5, Bouyges.
12 Al-Ghazali, Incoherence, Religious Preface; 3, Marmura. Cf. Al-Ghazali, Tahafot, Preface; 4, Bouyges.
13 McCarthy, 1980, 73, sec. 39; 75, sec. 44. Cf. the passage cited from Halevi's Kuzari in nn. 28 and 29 below.
14 Al-Ghazali, Incoherence 3; 65-78, Marmura. Cf. Al-Ghazali, Tahafot 3; 110-132, Bouyges.
15 Al-Ghazali, Incoherence, [First] Introduction; 4, Marmura. Cf. Al-Ghazali, Tahafot, Preface; 9.
16 See McCarthy, 1980, 90, sec. 82; 133 n. 162; and entries in Dozy, Lane, and Wehr, s.v. dhawq.
17 McCarthy, 1980, 96-97, sec. 102-108, especially sec. 108.
18 McCarthy, 1980, 98-100, sec. 112-120. Cf. pp. 108-109, sec. 140-141.
19 McCarthy, 1980, 99, sec. 115. Cf. 111, sec. 149, end. The passage cited here from sec. 115 of al-Ghazali's Deliverance from Error expresses a prospect for achieving genuine visionary experience that is similar in language and ironic tone to the conclusion of the philosopher's speech in Halevi's Kuzari, although the means al-Ghazali stipulates for attaining it are diametrically opposed to the means proposed by the Halevi's philosopher. See below n. 21
and cf. Ha-Levi, Kitab al-Radd 'I'&atil, i: i; 4, and 5. Baneth with Ben-Shammai.
20 Ha-Levi. Kitab al-Radd 'l'Datil,n 3, Baneth with Ben-Shammai.
21 Ha-Levi. Kitab al-Radd 'l'Datil,n 4, Baneth with Ben-Shammai.
22 Ha-Levi. Kitab al-Radd 'I'OaffltH 5, Baneth with Ben Shammai. Cf. McCarthy. 1980, 102, sec. 123.
23 Ha-Levi. Kitab al-Radd 'I'OaffltH 3, Baneth with Ben Shammai.
24 Ha-Levi. Kitab al-Radd i Dnfil, 1:1: 5, Baneth with Ben-Shammai.
25 Ha-Levi. Kitab al-Radd ^ i Dnfil, 1:2: 6. Baneth with Ben-Shammai.
26 Ha-Levi. Kitab al-Radd '^^^>4:19; 170, Baneth with Ben-Shammai.
27 One is reminded here of a citation from al-Farabi's introduction to his lost Commentary on Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics that appears in Maimonides' discussion of providence. "Those who have the capacity for making their soul pass from one moral quality to another are those whom Plato has said that God's providence watches over them to a greater degree." Maimonides, Guide. 3:18; 476, Pines.
28 Ha-Levi. Kitab al-Radd i Dnfil, 1:13: 10, Baneth with Ben-Shammai. Cf. the passages cited from al-Ghazali in nn. 13, 14, and 15 above.
29 Ha-Levi. Kitab al-Radd i Dalii 5.13_j4. 208-209. Baneth with Ben-Shammai.
30 Ha-Levi. Kitab al-Radd 'i-DalU^. 14 209-212, Baneth with Ben-Shammai.
31 Ha-Levi. Kitab al-Radd 'l-Dafil, 5:14: 212-213. Baneth with Ben Shammai.
Al-Ghazali. 1927. Tahafot al-Falasifat. Edited by M.Bouyges. Beyrouth: Imprimerie Catholique.
--. 1997. The Incoherence of the Philosophers. Translated by M.Marmura. Provo, Utah:
Brigham Young University Press.
Baron, S. 1941. "Yehudah Halevi: An Answer to an Historic Challenge." Jewish Social Studies 3:3 , pp. 243-272.
--. 1952-83. A Social and Religious History of the Jews, 16 Vols. Philadelphia: Jewish
Dannhauser, W.J. 1996. "Athens and Jerusalem or Jerusalem and Athens?" in Leo Strauss and Judaism: Jerusalem and Athens Critically Revisited, edited by D.Novak, pp. 155-171. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Dunlop, D.M. 1954. The History of the Jewish Khazars. New York: Schocken Books.
Goethe, J.W.v. 1949. Noten und Abhandlungen zum besseren Verstdädnis des West-Ostlischen Divans in Goethe's Werke, Vol. 2. Edited by Erich Trunz. Hamburg: Christian Wegner Verlag.
Goitein, S.D. 1988. A Mediterranean Society: Volume 5, The Individual. Berkeley, California: University of California Press.
Hobbes, T. 1960. Leviathan. Edited by Michael Oakeshott. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Ha-Levi. 1977. Kitab al-Radd ^-'l-Düttl fi 't-Dinal_Daljl: Al-Kitab al-Khazari. Edited by David H.Baneth with H.Ben-Shammai. Jerusalem: Magnes Press.
Halevi, J. 1905. Kitab al-Khazari: Book of Kuzari. Translated by H.Hirschfeld. London: Routledge.
Kaufmann, D. "Rabbi Yehudah Ha-Levi," in David Kaufmann: Studies in the Hebrew Literature of the Middle Ages. Jerusalem: Mossad Ha-Rav Kook, 1965.
Maimonides, 1963. The Guide of the Perplexed. Translated by S.Pines. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
McCarthy, R.J. 1980. freedom and fulfillment: An Annotated Translation of Al-Ghazali's al-Munqidh min al-Dalal and Other Relevant Works by Al-Ghazali. Boston: Twayne Publishers.
Motzkin, A.L. 1980. "On Halevi's Kuzari as a Platonic Dialogue," Interpretation 9:1; 111-124.
Novak, D. 1996. Leo Strauss and Judaism: Jerusalem and Athens Critically Revisted. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Schirmann, H. 1979. Studies in the History of Hebrew Poetry and Drama. (Heb.) Vol. 1. Jerusalem: Mossad Bialik.
Strauss, Leo. 1952. "The Law of Reason in the Kuzari," in Persecution and the Art of Writing. Glencoe, Illinois: The Free Press.
SECTION THREE NEOPLATONISM
Was this article helpful?