How Medieval Jewish Scholars Made Socrates into a Pious Monotheist

October 7, 2020 | Yehuda Halper
About the author:

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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