Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy

2011 Edition
| Editors: Henrik Lagerlund

Political Philosophy, Jewish

  • Abraham Melamed
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9729-4_412


Medieval Jewish political philosophy is the outcome of the encounter between Jewish political theology, based on biblical and rabbinic literature, on the one hand, and Greek political philosophy, notably Platonic, on the other. Jewish scholars encountered the Platonic heritage through Arabic translations, summaries, and commentaries of The Republic and The Laws, produced between the tenth and late twelfth centuries by Muslim scholars, notably al-Fārābī, Ibn Bājja, and Averroes. The political aspects of the Hebrew Bible and rabbinic literature were now interpreted in the prism of these influences. The Hebrew prophet was identified with the Platonic active philosopher; the Jewish king and king-messiah were described in terms of the Platonic philosopher-king, and the reign of Solomon, which will be reestablished with the coming of the messiah, was described as an ideal Platonic state, reinterpreted in theological terms.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abraham Melamed
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Jewish History and ThoughtUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael