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Thus, asking why possibility exists is similar to asking why a stone falls down when we throw it: it falls because that is its nature. In one of his arguments, Polqar claims that men do have the liberty of choosing, but that this ability is restricted to intellectuals. If a man does not actualize his intellect, he is no different from an animal which acts on instinct alone:.

The second argument is that it has been demonstrated that the existence of something separate and distinct from matter is more excellent and worthy than something material. Similarly, actions that are separate from matter are greater and more powerful than material actions.

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Also, the regression of the series of all agents terminates at a thing that is utterly separate from matter, so that we truly say that [only] separate things are truly agents, and material things are acted upon. Now man's rational soul, from which desire and volition are produced, is separate from matter, and is analogous to the supernal agents.

This is what the rabbis meant when they said Talmud Sab.

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Hence those who maintain that the qualities of the soul proceed from, and are decreed by, the heavenly bodies simply err and are mistaken. According to Polqar, most human beings are like animals, enslaved to their desires, and consequently lack freedom of choice; controlled by their desires, they differ from the intellectuals, who live in accordance with the intellectual soul and who therefore are capable of choosing proper actions.

Paradoxically, however, if the intellectuals constantly follow their rational faculty, they, similar to the separate intellects, are prevented from choosing how to act because they are constantly directed by the rational force. It would then follow that living according to the intellect does not guarantee unconditional freedom, as intellectuals are still subject to reason.

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The activities of the rational soul are not generated from it by virtue of its being rational. Therefore, I can reply to my critic that a material agent may act upon it from the aspect of its not being rational, a fortiori that an immaterial agent may act upon it. Moreover, the human soul is not entirely separate from matter, but only the acquired intellect, which is the agent intellect. Its activity takes place only through the intermediary of the intellect that is acted upon, which Aristotle considered to be subject to generation and destruction.

These activities are even more subject to an immaterial agent: the separate intellect. The human soul, argues the astrologer, is not entirely separate from matter, and therefore the claim that heavenly bodies can act upon it stands. From what you have written in your astrology, the activity of wisdom in the human soul is decreed from the heavens. Therefore, Polqar argues, his argument rejecting astrology is valid. The third argument: It is known that natural things behave in one manner without the possibility of their being able to change their function and to act in a manner opposite to that to which they are accustomed.

If the acts of the soul were necessitated and compelled and decreed, then they would be similar to natural acts, with absolutely no difference between them. If this were so, then how could the soul be considered to be the perfection of a natural body? For then the perfection of a body would only be through its natural deeds, which would abolish the existence of every soul.

1. Life and Works

All these are sophistries, calumnies, and follies. Polqar argues that depriving humans of free choice, as Abner suggests, would entail that natural things and things endowed with souls would operate in a similar manner. This would mean that human actions would not only be similar to natural actions, such as the occurrence of an eclipse or the rising of the sun, but that human actions would also be essentially similar to the actions of the separate intellects.

In other words, there would be no difference between the actions of perfect beings, such as the separate intellects, and the actions of imperfect beings, such as humans, who are comprised of material and non-material parts. Polqar concludes the debate between the scholar, presumably presenting his own view, and the astrologer, presumably representing Abner, as follows: firstly, possible and accidental things are not predestined and cannot be known by any knower including God before they happen.

Finally, natural things are essentially different from psychic things: the former act in a necessary way, while the latter act in a contingent manner. Firstly, he seeks to defend Judaism as a true religion against Christianity. For Polqar, true religion coincides with philosophical principles.

His defense of Judaism against the Christian convert Abner of Burgos essentially consists of the claim that while Judaism coincides with true philosophy and hence is a true religion, Christianity contains doctrines such as the Trinity and the Incarnation that contradict true philosophy and hence is not a true religion. In addition to his critique of Christianity, Polqar uses hermeneutical arguments to reinforce his position that Judaism is a true religion.

Secondly, Polqar, similarly to his fellow Jewish Averroists, wishes to defend the discipline of philosophy. As a consequence, he offers an Averroistic interpretation of Judaism and becomes one of the main representatives of Jewish Averroism. The major claim guiding my interpretation is that Polqar advances a systematic naturalistic interpretation of Judaism, which in many cases does not agree with traditional Jewish views. Isaac Polqar First published Thu Aug 10, Life and Works 2. Polqar and Abner of Burgos: Judaism vs.

Christianity 2. Christianity, for Polqar, does contradict those principles, and so it follows that Christianity is not a true religion: [ 8 ] The essential principle and purpose of all knowledge in the view of all nations is the knowledge of the existence of God, may He be blessed, through whose power the encompassing sphere is moved.

Because it is said the Lord founded the earth by wisdom, etc. He writes: Moreover, look at the confusion of your thought in your dependence upon a few legends of the Talmud that one cannot explain and take in any manner one wishes. Determinism and Free Will It would appear that a religious person, especially one who belongs to the Jewish faith, which stresses praxis, must affirm the position that human beings have free will; for if free will were denied, it would necessarily follow that the commandments have no meaning.

He writes: The third argument, particular to man, is from the aspect of the intellectual soul. If a man does not actualize his intellect, he is no different from an animal which acts on instinct alone: The second argument is that it has been demonstrated that the existence of something separate and distinct from matter is more excellent and worthy than something material.

Belasco ed. Jacobs, , under an English title The Support of Faith. Manekin trans.

2. Philosophy, Philosophers, and Rhetoric

Macfarland eds. Belasco, S. Blumenthal ed. Silverman trans. The Hebrew version: Bialik Institute, Jerusalem which is a revised and enlarged version of Philosophie des Judentums Hecht, Jonathan L. Hughes, Aaron W. Jospe and D. Schwartz eds. Orthodox Judaism : Orthodox Jews are typically known for their strict observance of traditional Jewish law and rituals.

Orthodox Judaism is a diverse sect that includes several subgroups, including Hasidic Jews. This form started in the 18th century in Eastern Europe and holds different values than traditional or ultra-Orthodox Judaism. Hasidic Jews emphasize a mystical experience with God that involves direct communion through prayer and worship. Chabad is a well-known Orthodox Jewish, Hasidic movement. Reform Judaism : Reform Judaism is considered a liberal category of the religion that values ethical traditions over strict observance of Jewish laws.

Followers promote progressive ideas and adaptation. Typically, conservative Jews honor the traditions of Judaism while allowing for some modernization. Reconstructionist Judaism : Reconstructionism dates back to when Mordecai Kaplan founded the Society for the Advancement of Judaism. Humanistic Jews celebrate Jewish history and culture without an emphasis on God.

Messianic Judaism : This modern movement combines the beliefs of Judaism and Christianity. Passover : This holiday lasts seven or eight days and celebrates Jewish freedom from slavery in Egypt. Rosh Hashanah : Jews celebrate the birth of the universe and humanity during this holiday, which is also known as the Jewish New Year. The High Holy Days are considered a time of repentance for Jewish people.

Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabees defeated the Syrian-Greeks over 2, years ago. Purim : This is a joyous holiday that celebrates a time when the Jewish people in Persia were saved from extermination.

Religion: Judaism. Ancient Jewish Texts.