Our Virtual Bookshelf displays books written and edited by former IIAS fellows that were initiated or completed during their stay at the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies, and which acknowledge the IIAS in print. The books are the natural outcome of our visiting Research Group members’ stay at the IIAS – reading, studying, interacting with colleagues – and we are pleased to present them to you.

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Debate by the Book, about the Book, in a Book: Shem Tob Falaquera’s Epistle of the Debate, Al-Fārābī’s Book of Dialectic, and Aristotle’s Topics on Philosophy and the Holy Writ

Debate by the Book, about the Book, in a Book: Shem Tob Falaquera’s Epistle of the Debate, Al-Fārābī’s Book of Dialectic, and Aristotle’s Topics on Philosophy and the Holy Writ

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Shem Tov Falaquera’s Epistle of the Debate describes a debate between a Pietist who is knowledgeable only in Jewish law and religious texts and a Scholar who is well versed in both Jewish and philosophical works about whether according to Scripture studying philosophy is forbidden, permitted, or necessary for the perfection of human beings. I argue that to a large extent the form, style, and much of the content of the arguments in the debate are based on Al-Fārābī’s Book of Dialectic. Falaquera thus provides an example of a debate by the book (Al-Fārābī’s Dialectic), about the Book (Scripture), and in a book (The Epistle of the Debate). Moreover, by examining the arguments of the Epistle in light of Al-Fārābī’s Dialectic, we can see how dialectic can provide both training in adversarial debates and an introduction to philosophy and science.

See also: Humanities, 2021
Last updated on 01/02/2022