The aim of the workshop is to examine the attempts of Jewish scholars to delineate the role of philosophical inquiry in medieval Jewish religious practice, and the ways in which philosophical motifs and vocabulary were appropriated and employed by Jews to construct and represent both Jewish and non-Jewish religious identity. The inquiry will focus on the Jewish reception of ancient, Islamic and scholastic epistemological and psychological theories, and on their significance for the description and interpretation of the specific internal and psychological dynamics of the religious life, and on the relationship between rational knowledge and other modes of cognition.
Among the areas and questions explored will be: What was the role in medieval Judaism of the definition of internal, spiritual life as a philosophically informed aspiration? To what extent did philosophical theories offer medieval Jews tools for a better understanding of traditional religious concept and practices, especially those associated with the qualities and structure of human soul and with the human capacity to enter in contact with God (e.g. through dream, prophecy, prayer)? When describing the dynamics of spiritual life, how did philosophical terminology intersect with the language of Jewish mysticism, the Kabbalah? How could philosophy and philosophical concepts be used in explaining or justifying religious conversion? How did the reception of philosophical theories inform the relationship of medieval Judaism to different religious traditions? How did the interplay between philosophical ideas and ethical and psychological religious discourses contribute to the popularisation of philosophical theories and texts among broader strata of Jewish society?
We welcome contributions covering and comparing different geographical areas inhabited by the Jews (Ashkenaz, Sefarad, the Land of Israel, etc.) throughout the High and Late Middle Ages, including work in progress and PhD projects.
The participants will include: Ofer Elior (Jerusalem), Michael Engel (Hamburg), Yehuda Halper (Bar Ilan), Yossef Schwartz (Tel Aviv), Shalom Sadik (Beer Sheva), Tamás Visi (Olomouc).
Please send your paper proposals by 3 March 2017 to Milan Žonca, email@example.com