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

November 17, 2016 | Peter Adamson
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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.)