The Noetic Turn in Jewish Thought

in Journal for the Study of Judaism
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Abstract

The noetic turn—perhaps the most important development in Jewish theological discourse after that from prophetic literature to apocalypticism—denotes the translation of the biblical and particularly apocalyptic ontological and epistemological categories, generally conceived according to the norms and categories of everyday knowledge, into noetic categories. God, his throne, light, angels and heavens are re-conceived from a noetic perspective. Noetic perception takes the place of direct vision, hearing and dreams in apprehending the heavenly mysteries of the apocalyptic literature. The noetic turn introduces new ontological layers and degrees in heaven, new doctrines regarding the levels of divine concealment and manifestation and new theories about human epistemic capacities. This turn exerts a momentous influence on philosophically educated authors of Jewish and Christian cultures, on such classics as Philo, Clement, Origen, Halevi, Maimonides and Gersonides and many other thinkers of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages.

The Noetic Turn in Jewish Thought

in Journal for the Study of Judaism

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