[RG #108] Transmission and Appropriation of the Secular Sciences and Philosophy in Medieval Judaism: Comparative Perspectives, Universal and National Aspects
March 1 - August 31, 2007
Gad Freudenthal (CNRS, Paris)
Ruth Glasner (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Our project will focus on the study of the patterns of transmission to, and appropriation by, medieval Jewish cultures of Greek-Arabic thought, with special emphasis on a comparison with the parallel processes in the Muslim-Arabic and Christian-Latin cultures. The group will study different aspects of the absorption of originally Greek knowledge (mainly but not only scientific and philosophical ideas) within the different medieval Jewish cultures in the Mediterranean between the 8th and the 15th centuries, and examine the role played by Jews in knowledge transfer from Europe to the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century. These processes are worthy of study, not only in and of themselves, but also as a reexamination, comparatively speaking, of the varying accounts offered for the Muslim-Arabic and Christian-Latin cases, based on the role of institutions of learning. The absence of similar institutions in Jewish cultures affords the possibility of "controlling" the thesis that what allowed Western Europe to lead the way from medieval science to the scientific revolution was the institutionalization of learning within that society.