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This article addresses a lacuna in the scholarly understanding of Eastern European Jewish thought and its engagement with modern Western philosophy by highlighting the role of translators, popularisers, and Russian philosophers as mediators of philosophical ideas. It puts forth the claim that in order to understand Jewish thinkers’ involvement with modern philosophy, one should consider these mediating materials rather than primary sources that were rarely read in Eastern Europe. To illustrate the import of these mediators, this article focuses on two thinkers, Abraham Isaac Kook and Shmuel Alexandrov, and examines an array of sources that moulded their ideas. Among the sources reviewed are Hillel Zeitlin’s articles in the Jewish press, Eliezer Yitzhak Sheinbaum’s translations and philosophy books, and a range of Russian philosophers. These are only some examples of the ways in which exploring this often-neglected terrain can yield a better understanding of the formation of Eastern European Jewish philosophy, a notion that can be further developed in future studies.

Open Access
In: Maimonides Review of Philosophy and Religion Volume 2, 2023
Volume Editors: and
The Maimonides Review of Philosophy and Religion is an annual collection of double-blind peer-reviewed articles that seeks to provide a broad international arena for an intellectual exchange of ideas between the disciplines of philosophy, theology, religion, cultural history, and literature and to showcase their multifarious junctures within the framework of Jewish studies. Contributions to the Review place special thematic emphasis on scepticism within Jewish thought and its links to other religious traditions and secular worldviews. The Review is interested in the tension at the heart of matters of reason and faith, rationalism and mysticism, theory and practice, narrativity and normativity, doubt and dogma.