Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Marco Sgarbi

Abraham ben Shem Tov Bibago

Born: Possibly in Huesca, uncertain date perhaps around 1420
Died: Saragossa, ~1489
  • Yehuda HalperEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02848-4_3-1


Abraham Bibago was a Jewish Averroist, whose work treats the connection between Judaism and philosophy as well as Aristotelian logic, physics, and metaphysics. His numerous writings can essentially be divided into two groups: (1) philosophical and scientific works and (2) religious works. The first group consists of interpretations of Aristotle’s works taking into account inter alia several of Averroes’ commentaries. He also addressed current scholastic issues and in general strove to promote the Aristotelian approach. His religious writings, most prominently the Derekh Emunah (“Way of Faith”), strive to present a unified portrait of the world, which preserves a place for science and philosophy alongside Talmudic based religious life. In general, Bibago says in these works that philosophy and science can lead to human perfection, but so can faith. Often, he suggests that the perfection obtained through faith is superior to that attained through human intellect. These views, however, are not supported by the philosophical and scientific works, where Bibago presents Aristotelian philosophy as the only way to achieve human perfection. He even suggests in these works that the true purpose of Judaism is to allow the elite to study philosophy. Bibago’s two contradictory views, which he gives in different kinds of works, mark him firmly as a Jewish Averroist.


Philosophical Work Jewish Education Human Intellect Philosophical Interpretation Intellectual Thought 
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Primary Literature

  1. Abraham Bibago. 1521. The way of faith (Derekh Emunah). Constantinople.Google Scholar
  2. 1522. This will comfort us (Zeh yenaḥamenu). Salonica.Google Scholar
  3. Halper, Yehuda. 2014. Commentary on Aristotle’s Metaphysics [Introduction], trans. Bibago’s introduction to his commentary on Aristotle’s Metaphysics. Zutot: Perspectives on Jewish Culture 10: 1–15.Google Scholar
  4. Nuriel, Abraham, ed. 2000a. The tree of life (‘eṣ ḥayyim) [Hebrew, selections]. In Concealed and revealed in medieval Jewish philosophy, 184–185. Jerusalem: Magnes Press.Google Scholar
  5. Nuriel, Abraham, ed. 2000b. Letters to Moses Arondi [Hebrew, selections]. In Concealed and revealed in medieval Jewish philosophy, 186–188. Jerusalem: Magnes Press.Google Scholar
  6. Nuriel, Abraham, ed. 2000c. Commentary on Aristotle’s Posterior analytics [Hebrew, selections]. In Concealed and revealed in medieval Jewish philosophy, 188–190. Jerusalem: Magnes Press.Google Scholar
  7. Nuriel, Abraham, ed. 2000d. Philosophical discussions [Hebrew, selections]. In Concealed and revealed in medieval Jewish philosophy, 191–192. Jerusalem: Magnes Press.Google Scholar
  8. Zonta, Mauro. 2006. Treatise on the plurality of forms [English Paraphrase]. In Hebrew scholasticism in the fifteenth century: A history and sourcebook, 41–107. Dordrecht: Springer Press.Google Scholar

Secondary Literature

  1. Ackerman, A. 2003. Jewish philosophy and the Jewish-Christian philosophical dialogue in fifteenth century Spain. In Cambridge companion to medieval Jewish philosophy, 371–390. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Halper, Y. 2014. Philosophical Allegory in Bibago: Exegetical duplicity for the sake of open inquiry. Jewish Studies Quarterly. 21(3):261–276.Google Scholar
  3. Kellner, M. 1986. Dogma in medieval Jewish thought: From Maimonides to Abravanel. Oxford.Google Scholar
  4. Lazaroff, A. 1981. The theology of Abraham Bibago. University: University of Alabama Press.Google Scholar
  5. Nuriel, A. 2000. Concealed and revealed in medieval Jewish philosophy, 181–312. Magnes Press. Jerusalem.Google Scholar
  6. Sirat, C. 1985. A history of Jewish philosophy in the Middle Ages, 384–389. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Steinschneider, M. 1883. Abraham Bibago’s Schriften. Monatsschrift für Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judethums Kommissionsverlag des Bibliographischer Bureas. 32:79–96 and 125–144.Google Scholar
  8. Steinschneider, M. 1893. Die hebräischen Übersetzungen des Mittelalters, 168–171. Berlin: Kommissionsverlag des Bibliographischer Bureas.Google Scholar

Tertiary Literature

  1. Jospe, R. 2007. Bibago, Abraham ben Shem Tov. In Encyclopaedia Judaica, ed. M. Berenbaum and F. Skolnik, 3.570–571. Detroit:Macmillan Reference USA.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Jewish ThoughtBar Ilan UniversityRamat GanIsrael