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Expressions of Sceptical Topoi in (Late) Antique Judaism

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  • Funded by:Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
  • Edited by:Reuven Kiperwasser and Geoffrey Herman 
 
Volume 12 in the seriesStudies and Texts in Scepticism

Scepticism has been the driving force in the development of Greco-Roman culture in the past, and the impetus for far-reaching scientific achievements and philosophical investigation. Early Jewish culture, in contrast, avoided creating consistent representations of its philosophical doctrines. Sceptical notions can nevertheless be found in some early Jewish literature such as the Book of Ecclesiastes. One encounters there expressions of doubt with respect to Divine justice or even Divine involvement in earthly affairs. During the first centuries of the common era, however, Jewish thought, as reflected in rabbinic works, was engaged in persistent intellectual activity devoted to the laws, norms, regulations, exegesis and other traditional areas of Jewish religious knowledge. An effort to detect sceptical ideas in ancient Judaism, therefore, requires a closer analysis of this literary heritage and its cultural context.
This volume of collected essays seeks to tackle the question of scepticism in an Early Jewish context, including Ecclesiastes and other Jewish Second Temple works, rabbinic midrashic and talmudic literature, and reflections of Jewish thought in early Christian and patristic writings. Contributors are: Tali Artman, Geoffrey Herman, Reuven Kiperwasser, Serge Ruzer, Cana Werman, and Carsten Wilke.

Author information

Reuven Kiperwasser, Ariel University, Israel.

Geoffrey Herman, École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris, France.

Frontmatter
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Contents
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Introduction
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1
Doubting Divine Justice and Human Knowledge: Qohelet’s Cultural Dialectics
Carsten L. Wilke
Open Access
7
“Matters That Tend towards Heresy”: Rabbinic Ways of Reading Ecclesiastes
Reuven Kiperwasser
Open Access
27
Wisdom Scepticism and Apocalyptic Certitude; Philosophical Certitude and Apocalyptic Scepticism
Cana Werman
Open Access
45
Reasonable Doubts of the “Other”: Jewish Scepticism in Early Christian Sources
Serge Ruzer
Open Access
69
Idolatry, God(s), and Demons among the Jews of Sasanian Babylonia
Geoffrey Herman
Open Access
85
Facing Omnipotence and Shaping the Sceptical Topos
Reuven Kiperwasser
Open Access
101
“If a Man Would Tell You”
Tali Artman Partock
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125
List of Contributors
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155
Index of Names and Places
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157
General Index
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