Jewish Philosophical Theology

Daniel H. Frank

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Theology

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199596539
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

 Jewish Philosophical Theology

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  • Religion
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Judaism and Jewish Studies


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This article reviews the thoughts of some major Jewish philosophers. It presents a case study of Jewish philosophical theology, which demonstrates how Maimonides explicates the reasons for the revealed commandments. Prima facie, some of the commandments appear to be quite arbitrary and irrational, and it is shown how Maimonides deals with this. Further, this ‘theoretical’ discussion in legal philosophy about the reasons for the commandments has manifestly practical implications, specifically aretaic implications about the inculcation and establishment of certain dispositions. Jewish philosophical theology muddies the grand dichotomy of theory and practice. Study is commanded for the sake of moral and social reform. And the law itself becomes most effective in a human life when obedience follows on consideration of its grounds.

Keywords: Jews; Jewish philosophers; Judaism; Maimonides; commandments

Article.  6750 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Philosophy of Religion ; Judaism and Jewish Studies

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