Renaissance Philosophy in Jewish Garb

Foundations and Challenges in Judaism on the Eve of Modernity


Based on several years of research on Jewish intellectual life in the Renaissance, this book tries to distinguish the coordinates of “modernity” as premises of Jewish philosophy, and vice versa. In the first part, it is concerned with the foundations of Jewish philosophy, its nature as philosophical science and as wisdom. The second part is devoted to certain elements and challenges of the humanist and Renaissance period as reflected in Judaism: historical consciousness and the sciences, utopian tradition, the legal status of the Jews in Christian political tradition and in Jewish political thought, aesthetic concepts of the body and conversion.
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Biographical Note

Giuseppe Veltri, is Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Halle-Wittenberg and Director of the Zunz Centre (Halle). He has published widely in the subjects of hermeneutics and philosophy including Magie und Halakha (1997), Gegenwart der Tradition (2002), Cultural Intermediaries (2004 with D. Ruderman); Libraries, Translation and "Canonic texts" (2006); The Jewish Body (2008, with M. Diemling).

Table of contents

Introduction In Search of a Jewish Renaissance
Chapter One Jewish Philosophy: Humanist Roots of a Contradiction in Terms
Chapter Two The Prophetic-Poetic Dimension of Philosophy: The Ars Poetica and Immanuel of Rome
Chapter Three Leone Ebreo’s Concept of Jewish Philosophy
Chapter Four Conceptions of History: Azariah de’ Rossi
Chapter Five Scientific Thought and the Exegetical Mind, with an Essay on the Life and Works of Rabbi Judah Loew
Chapter Six Mathematical and Biblical Exegesis: Jewish Sources of Athanasius Kircher’s Musical Theory
Chapter Seven Creating Geographical and Political Utopias: The Ten Lost Tribes and the East
Chapter Eight Ceremonial Law: History of a Philosophical-Political Concept
Chapter Nine The City and the Ghetto: Simone Luzzatto and the Development of Jewish Political Thought
Chapter Ten Body of Conversion and Immortality of the Soul: Sara Copio Sullam, the “Beautiful Jewess”


All those interested in Jewish intellectual history of the Renaissance, the history of Jewish philosophy as well as Jewish studies and Christian studies.


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