Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Marco Sgarbi

Gerondi, Nissim ben Reuben

Born: 1310 or a little after, probably in Gerona, though possibly in Barcelona
Died: 1376, Barcelona
  • Shalom SadikEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02848-4_817-1


Rabbi Nissim Gerondi was the leading Jewish Spanish juridical scholar between 1350 and 1376. He was in fact the spiritual and the juridical leader of the Jewish community of Aragon despite apparently not having an official position as rabbi of the city but only as head of the local Yeshiva. The huge majority of his works relate to Jewish Law. His major philosophical work was a collection of 12 sermons that address several philosophical and religious questions. His major philosophical impact was with regard to the question of political philosophy. He employed a sharp division between the law of the Torah and the law of the king, with each having distinct religious and practical roles. Rabbi Nissim was also the founder of a specific school within Jewish philosophy which continued until the middle of the fifteenth century. The defining characteristics of this school were its anti-Aristotelian approach and its conservative answers to metaphysical questions.

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Primary Literature

  1. Nissim, Rabbi. 1958. Commentary on genesis. A. L. Feldman (ed). Jerusalem, in Hebrew.Google Scholar
  2. Nissim, Rabbi. 1996. Sermons. Y. T. Porgas (ed). Bnei Brak, in Hebrew.Google Scholar

Secondary Literature

  1. Brand, Itzhak. 2012. Religious recognition of autonomous secular law: The Sitz im Leben of R. Nissim of Girona’s Homily (no. 11). Harvard Theological Review 105: 163–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Harvey, Waren Zev. 2013. Rabbi Nissim of Girona on the Constitutional Power of the Sovereign. Diné Israel 29: 91–100.Google Scholar
  3. Lorberbaum, Menahem. 2001. Politics and the limit of law – Secularizing the political in medieval Jewish thought, 124–149. Standford.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ben Gurion University of the NegevBe’er SchevaIsrael

Section editors and affiliations

  • Vasileios Syros
    • 1
  1. 1.Finnish Center of Political Thought & Conceptual ChangeJYVÄSKYLÄN YLIOPISTOFinland