It is my pleasure to attempt to acknowledge all those who contributed to the composition of this book. I had the distinct privilege of learning with two of the foremost scholars of Hasdai Crescas’ philosophy: Professors Aviezer Ravitzky and Zeev Harvey. Prof. Ravitzky introduced me to the complex and multifaceted world of Crescas’ thought in a graduate seminar where my interest in Crescas began to develop. As will be evident, several chapters are grounded in seminal insights of Ravitzky on the relationship between law and philosophy in Or Hashem. I also studied Crescas’ works in many discussions with my Doktorvater, Prof. Harvey, whose constant encouragement and support were essential to my bringing this project to fruition. He generously reviewed preliminary versions of each chapter herein and shared copious comments.
I am also grateful to the following colleagues who read select chapters in progress and offered valuable criticism: Prof. Gad Freudenthal, Dr. Yehudah Galinsky, Prof. Charles Manekin, Dr. Pinhas Roth, Prof. Roslyn Weiss, Prof. Elliot Wolfson and Dr. Shalom Zadik. I would also like to express my appreciation to my literary editor, Susan Oren. She labored over the manuscript and vastly improved its style and clarity.
I would also like to thank my many friends and colleagues at the Schechter Institute who provide a stimulating and supportive environment. In particular, I would like to acknowledge Prof. Doron Bar, Prof. Moshe Benowitz, Prof. David Frankel, Prof. David Golinkin, Prof. Renee Levine Melammed, Dr. Noa Hakham, and Prof. Yossi Turner. I also profited from many discussions with my dear friend, Prof. Alan Jotkowitz.
Several chapters of this volume were initially published in article form: earlier versions of Chapters 2 and 3 appeared, respectively, as “Hasdai Crescas on the Philosophic Foundation of Codification,” Association of Jewish Studies Review 37 (2013): 315–331, and “Hasdai Crescas and His Circle on the Infinitely Expanding Torah,” Jewish Studies, an Internet Journal 11 (2012): 217–233; portions of Chapters 3 and 6 overlap with the following articles, respectively: “Taxonomy, Methodology and Philosophic Techniques in the Halakhic Writings of Hasdai Crescas,” Or Ha-Shem from Spain: The Life, Works, and Philosophy of Rabbi Hasdai Crescas, ed. Esti Eisenmann and Warren Zeev Harvey, Jerusalem: The Zalman Shazar Center, 2020, 103–113 [Hebrew], and “Hasdai Crescas and Scholastic Philosophers on the Possible Existence of Multiple Worlds,” Aleph 17 (2017): 139–154. I would like to thank Cambridge University Press, Bar Ilan University, The Zalman Shazar Center, and Indiana
It is a joy to thank to my family: my parents, Calvin and Fran Ackerman, and my siblings, Joel Ackerman and Rachel Epstein, for their generous support over the years; my wife Rachel, to whom this book is dedicated with love and gratitude, although this gesture is an inadequate expression of my profound debt to her. Finally, I would like to extend thanks to our five wonderful children—Avital, Devorah, Leah, Yishai, and David; their superb partners—Tal, Roi, Mendi, and Adaya; and their adorable children—Nahman Yitzhak, Rivka, Shlomki, Yudush, Kedem, Uri Ahavah, Nur, and Sarah Or.