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Rabbi Levi ben Gershom, (Gersonides, 1288-1344), one of medieval Judaism's most interesting figures, was not only a philosopher, exegete, and halakhist but was also known for his contributions in the fields of astronomy and mathematics. In this new translation of Gersonides' Commentary on Song of Songs, Menachem Kellner brings to English-language readers a work that draws together many important strands and elements of Gersonides' thought: philosophical theology, philosophy of science, biblical exegesis, and Aristotle/Averroes commentary. With an informative introduction and thorough annotations, this volume focuses fresh attention on an important example of medieval Jewish biblical commentary and medieval philosophical thought.
Gersonides stood at the intersection of three worlds: he was a learned and devout Jew whose major philosophic and scientific teachers were Muslims and whose scientific colleagues were Christians. Applying his learning and brilliance to the Judaism he had inherited, Gersonides transformed it and passed along to his own students a Judaism that bore the stamp of his unique personality and of the Jewish-Muslim-Christian symbiosis he both represented and helped create. His philosophical commentary on Song of Songs reveals his belief that this poem is the only book in the Bible written to teach the ultimate truths of the universe to the elite while being of no outward benefit to the masses.
"Kellner's work is a major contribution not only to the study of Gersonides but to the study of medieval culture in general. It is a book to read with care and pleasure". -- Seymour Feldman, Rutgers University
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