Placing Moses Maimonides and Saadiah Gaon in the Context of Islamic Aristotelianism

Although similarities between medieval Muslim philosophers and such contemporary Jewish giants as Saadiah Gaon (d. 942) and Maimonides (1135-1204) are no secret, Peter Adamson argues they have been underestimated. Taking as examples one passage from Saadiah and two from Maimonides, Adamson shows their striking parallels with passages written by the Islamic thinkers al-Kindi (9th century), al-Razi (d. 925), and ibn Tufayl (d. 1185). He concludes that, although it is possible the Jewish philosophers borrowed these ideas directly from the Muslim ones, or even vice-versa, the most plausible explanation is that all of these thinkers were drawing on similar ancient sources and coming from a shared intellectual culture. (Video, 49 minutes. An accompanying handout is available at the link below.)


More about: Aristotle, History & Ideas, Jewish Philosophy, Middle Ages, Moses Maimonides, Saadiah Gaon

Only Hamas’s Defeat Can Pave the Path to Peace

Opponents of the IDF’s campaign in Gaza often appeal to two related arguments: that Hamas is rooted in a set of ideas and thus cannot be defeated militarily, and that the destruction in Gaza only further radicalizes Palestinians, thus increasing the threat to Israel. Rejecting both lines of thinking, Ghaith al-Omar writes:

What makes Hamas and similar militant organizations effective is not their ideologies but their ability to act on them. For Hamas, the sustained capacity to use violence was key to helping it build political power. Back in the 1990s, Hamas’s popularity was at its lowest point, as most Palestinians believed that liberation could be achieved by peaceful and diplomatic means. Its use of violence derailed that concept, but it established Hamas as a political alternative.

Ever since, the use of force and violence has been an integral part of Hamas’s strategy. . . . Indeed, one lesson from October 7 is that while Hamas maintains its military and violent capabilities, it will remain capable of shaping the political reality. To be defeated, Hamas must be denied that. This can only be done through the use of force.

Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor. . . . Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict