How Medieval Jewish Scholars Made Socrates into a Pious Monotheist

In the Middle Ages, Jewish thinkers in the Arabic-speaking world were aware of the Athenian philosopher Socrates, but they had little or no access to the first-hand accounts of his life by Plato and others. Instead, Yehuda Halper explains, two versions of the ancient philosopher emerged in Judaic sources: one was a skeptic, familiar to modern readers, but the other was an ascetic monotheist, whom one Hebrew writer even imagined reciting a surprisingly rabbinic daily prayer. This bifurcation of Socrates, moreover, is unique to Jewish sources. (Video, 80 minutes.)

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Read more at Great Thinkers

More about: Jewish Thought, Middle Ages, Socrates

Reclaiming Secular Zionism’s Religiosity

Feb. 24 2021

A recent article in an Israeli political journal argued that anyone who wishes to revive Israel’s moribund left must stay true to its secular heritage and “take a stand against both religion and religious people.” But to Gershon Hacohen this claim rests on a profound misunderstanding. While it is true that David Ben-Gurion and other early leaders of the Zionist left were secular insofar as they were agnostic and did not observe halakhah, their ideology was deeply enmeshed with the Hebrew Bible and Jewish traditions:

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Read more at BESA Center

More about: David Ben-Gurion, History of Zionism, Labor Zionism, Religious Zionism