Action, Intention, and the Search for the Good: Diana Lobel on Judah Ha-Levi, Baḥya ibn Paquda, and the Search for the Good

in Review of Rabbinic Judaism
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Because of their religious and existential appeal, Judah Ha-Levi and Baḥya ibn Paquda are studied in circles otherwise opposed to the study of philosophy. Ha-Levi emphasizes correct actions, whereas Baḥya emphasizes intention and internalization. Diana Lobel shows how both thinkers adopted Islamic, especially Sufi, terms and ideas, but adapted them to their Jewish context, thus exemplifying Wolfson’s notion of “repercussions” rather than one-way “influences.” Her Quest for God and the Good contains broad scholarship but goes beyond it to the multi-cultural philosophical search over the ages for the truth and the good life.

Review of Rabbinic Judaism

Ancient, Medieval, and Modern (Formerly: The Annual of Rabbinic Judaism)

References

3

Judah Ha-Levi, The Kuzari 4:25. English translation by Hartwig Hirschfeld (1905).

6

Lobel, A Sufi-Jewish Dialogue, pp. 216–217. It should be noted that in the Ha-Levi book, Lobel hyphenates the name, whereas in the Baḥya ibn Paquda book, the name is spelled Halevi (perhaps because of different standards adopted by her two publishers). In any event, for consistency, I shall adopt the hyphenated usage in the book on Ha-Levi.

10

Ibid., p. 80.

11

Ibid., p. 159.

12

Ibid., pp. 148–149.

14

Ibid., pp. 174–176.

17

Ibid., p. 101.

21

Lobel, The Quest for God and the Good: World Philosophy as a Living Experience, p. 143.

22

Ibid., p. 146.

23

Ibid., p. 2.

24

Ibid., pp. 6–7.

28

Lobel, The Quest for God and the Good, pp. 11–12.

29

Ibid., p. 45.

30

Ibid., p. 55.

32

Lobel, The Quest for God and the Good, p. 155.

33

Ibid., p. 171.

34

Maimonides, Guide of the Perplexed 1:15. My translation.

35

Lobel, The Quest for God and the Good, p. 154.

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