© 2017

The Birth of Thought in the Spanish Language

14th century Hebrew-Spanish Philosophy


  • Presents a critical, up-to-date analysis on the origin of Spanish philosophy written by Santob de Carrión

  • Includes a historical and cultural introduction that provides biographical detail as well as context for a greater understand of Santob's philosophy

  • Awarded the International Samuel Toledano’ prize, Jerusalem, 2014


Part of the Philosophical Studies Series book series (PSSP, volume 127)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xviii
  2. Introduction to the Historical and Cultural Context

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Ilia Galán Díez
      Pages 3-9
    3. Ilia Galán Díez
      Pages 11-13
    4. Ilia Galán Díez
      Pages 15-17
    5. Ilia Galán Díez
      Pages 19-20
    6. Ilia Galán Díez
      Pages 37-39
    7. Ilia Galán Díez
      Pages 41-47
    8. Ilia Galán Díez
      Pages 49-50
  3. Part II

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 61-61
    2. Ilia Galán Díez
      Pages 73-79
    3. Ilia Galán Díez
      Pages 81-84
    4. Ilia Galán Díez
      Pages 85-91
    5. Ilia Galán Díez
      Pages 93-103
    6. Ilia Galán Díez
      Pages 105-113
    7. Ilia Galán Díez
      Pages 115-120

About this book


This book takes readers on a philosophical discovery of a forgotten treasure, one born in the 14th century but which appears to belong to the 21st. It presents a critical, up-to-date analysis of Santob de Carrión, also known as Sem Tob, a writer and thinker whose philosophy arose in the Spain of the three great cultures: Jews, Christians, and Muslims, who then coexisted in peace.

The author first presents a historical and cultural introduction that provides biographical detail as well as context for a greater understand of Santob's philosophy. Next, the book offers a dialogue with the work itself, which looks at politics, sociology, anthropology, psychology, ethics, aesthetics, metaphysics, and theodicy. The aim is not to provide an exhaustive analysis, or to comment on each and every verse, but rather to deal only with the most relevant for today’s world.

Readers will discover how Santob believed knowledge must be dynamic, and tolerance fundamental, fleeing from dogma, since one cannot avoid a significant dose of moral and aesthetic relativism. Subjectivity, within its own codes, must seek a profound ethics, not puritanical but which serves to escape from general ill will. Santob offers a criticism of wealth and power that does not serve the people which appears to be totally relevant today.

In spite of the fame he achieved in his own time, Santob has largely remained a vestige of the past. By the end of this book, readers will come to see why this important figure deserves to be more widely studied. Indeed, not only has this medieval Spanish philosopher searched for truth in an unstable, confused world of contradictions, but he has done so in a way that can still help us today.


Hebrew Spanish Philosophy Early Spanish Philosophy Philosophical Poetry Santob of Carrión Sem Tob of Carrión Shem Tov of Carrión Jewish Philosophy

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.HumanitiesUniversity Carlos III de MadridMadridSpain

About the authors

Ilia Galán  (Miranda de Ebro, Burgos, Spain-1966) Professor of Humanities, Aesthetics and Theory of Art in Carlos III University, bachelor of Arts (Philosophy) at Navarra University, and, (Journalism) at Leioa, Doctor, Philosophy of Art at Universidad Complutense of Madrid with the thesis: Deus vel Ars sive  Natura: Shelling”, editor and founding member of the Philosophy magazine: Aula Cero, producer of the literary magazine: Ahora, contributor and honoured collaborator at the Philosophy Faculty in Universidad Complutense de  Madrid.. He also studied in Cambridge University (UK), and Boulogne-sur-Mer (France). Academic Visitor in the universities of Sorbonne (Paris IV), Oxford, University of Exeter (UK), New York University, Harvard University and Università per Stranieri di Perugia (Italy). He has received a number of awards and grants  from Universities, Goverment, and Rich Foundation. He is also a poet, novelist, essay writer, columnist in La Tribuna paper (and others like El País, Diario de Noticias, Diario de Burgos, Diario Palentino, Diario de Ávila, El Día de Valladolid, etc). Review’s director: Conde de Aranda (Estudios a la luz de la francmasonería). Internetional Prize Research Samuel Toledano (Jerusalén, 2014).

Bibliographic information