❧ The Book of Beliefs and Opinions free download ➛ Author Saadia Gaon – Turboville.co.uk

n the 10th century, Saadia Gaon, a Babylonian Torah scholar, wrote this book to address a wide variety of topics, using both reason and scripture In addition to endorsing traditional Jewish views, Saadia sought to address topics seemingly left up for grabs by the Torah Tbe book begins with the most abstract material, and then getsspecific and perhaps a bit less deep towards the end.The first two chapters or treatises address tbe nature of creation In the first and deepest chapte n the 10th century, Saadia Gaon, a Babylonian Torah scholar, wrote this book to address a wide variety of topics, using both reason and scripture In addition to endorsing traditional Jewish views, Saadia sought to address topics seemingly left up for grabs by the Torah Tbe book begins with the most abstract material, and then getsspecific and perhaps a bit less deep towards the end.The first two chapters or treatises address tbe nature of creation In the first and deepest chapter, Saadia seeks to prove that God created the universe out of nothing This chapter was a bit over my head in spots One interesting sidelight Saadia addresses a dozen alternative theories, and implies that the first alternative is the most credible, the second is the second most credible, and that the last is the weakest But in my untutored opinion Saadia s order of proceeding is not obviously logical his top alternative is that God created the universe out of eternal spiritual beings and the allegedly weakest alternatives are skepticism i.e that it is proper for man to refraining from believing anything because they claim that human reasoning is full of uncertainties p 80 and the views of those who feign complete ignorance But the latter alternative seems to me stronger than the former Either 9th century people viewed the world very differently than I, or Saadia was putting the weaker alternative first in order to strengthen his argument.The second chapter discusses the nature of God asserting that God is One and has no body Interestingly, Saadia seems to reject the common midrashic view that the various names of God in the Torah refer to different Divine attributes Instead, Saadia points out that Scriptures often uses names interchangeably He criticizes Trinitarian Christianity on the ground that if God is not a physical being, he cannot possibly have multiple attributes which differ from each other because anything that harbors distinction within itself is unquestionably a physical being According to Saadia, God is like truth something that cannot be perceived by the senses yet nevertheless exists.In the third chapter, Saadia discusses the Torah s laws and the reason therefor He asserts that some commandments are obviously supported by reason, and the rest exist either because God has imposed upon us a profusion of commandments and prohibitions in order thereby to increase our reward or to teach submissiveness to God In addition, some of the latter group may have minor rational purposes for example, the dietary laws discourage idolatry because man is unlikely to worship what has been given to him for food, nor what has been declared unclean for him In this chapter, Saadia also defends the validity of Scripture and related traditions, on the ground that if people did not accept authentic tradition, they could not believe anything beyond what their senses perceived for example, they could not be certain that a law was in fact issued by the government Most of the last half of the book relates to the afterlife Saadia endorses the traditional Jewish view that a messiah will deliver Israel and will rule over the resurrected Jewish dead He also asserts that eventually, all people who have ever lived including non Jews will be judged and sent to paradise or eternal damnation, both of which involve variations of light and fire This view is based partially on citations to Scripture, and partially on reason Specifically, Saadia reasons that the injustice prevalent in the world can be remedied only by rewards and punishments in the afterlife Less persuasively, he asserts that punishment should be eternal as a deterrent to evil an argument that is not particularly persuasive because would be evildoers a have no way of knowing what God s punishments are especially if they have not read Saadia s book and b may not think they are doing anything punishable Moreover, the idea of eternal punishment seems inconsistent with Saadia s view that God disapproves of misconduct only on our account, because of te harm they might inflict upon us The last chapter is the most practical Saadia lists a variety of good things e.g prayer, food, sex and says that the ideal person should balance these needs rather than pursuing one to the exclusion of others This novel taught me a lot about philosophy of religion and made me think critically about beliefs in general. This isn t the first time I ve read it in the original Hebrew, as translated by Rabbi Kappach zt l Every time I learn something new. Perhaps the first systemization of Judaism as a philosophically sound project Written in tenth century Babylon, Saadya, an important community teacher, has to contend with numerous challenges Karaties rejecting the Rabbinic writings Christians claiming Incarnation Muslims insisting on aniconic monotheism traditional Jews wary of Greek thinking secular philosophers skeptical of revealed religion Saadya takes them on, defending Judaism as compatible with Reason, needing philosophy in or Perhaps the first systemization of Judaism as a philosophically sound project Written in tenth century Babylon, Saadya, an important community teacher, has to contend with numerous challenges Karaties rejecting the Rabbinic writings Christians claiming Incarnation Muslims insisting on aniconic monotheism traditional Jews wary of Greek thinking secular philosophers skeptical of revealed religion Saadya takes them on, defending Judaism as compatible with Reason, needing philosophy in order to clear up error and render reasonable the reliable tradition of the rabbis This edition gives you some sturdy footnotes explaining the Arabic and Hebrew when it counts It s a period piece, larded with dogma about the afterlife, the soul and the prophets, but worth working through My favorite bit how to bolster the heart towards good After all that rationalism Saadya prescribes the composition of poems which remind man of his state of frailty, wretchedness and toil and mortality Yale Judaica Series Saadya Ben Joseph Al Fayyumi , Gaon Head Of The Rabbinic Academy At Sura One Of The Preeminent Jewish Thinkers Of The Medieval Period, Attempted To Create A Complete Statement Of Jewish Religious Philosophy In Which All Strands Of Philosophical Thought Were To Be Knit Into A Unified System In The Book Of Doctrines Beliefs , Saadya Sought To Rescue Believers From A Sea Of Doubt The Waters Of Confusion Into Which They Had Been Cast By Christianity, Islam Other Faiths By Employing Philosophical Or Kalamic Argumentation To Examine Defend Traditional Jewish Beliefs, Saadya Hoped To Turn Blind Faith Into Conviction Based On Rational Understanding indeed one of the best I enjoid The Book of Beliefs and Opinions


About the Author: Saadia Gaon

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