- Philosophy Maimonides has a recognized place among those whose doctrines Aquinas draws on; all attempts to camouflage Maimonides' doctrines, such as the attempts of william of auvergne and alexander of hales , have been put aside. "Rabbi Moyses" (Maimonides) appears as a master who has brought together the voluntarism of biblical theology and the Aristotelian theories on the cosmogonic process. Aquinas seems to have been influenced by Maimonides in his account of the relation of faith and reason (SCG, 1:4) and in his proofs of the existence of God (ST, I, qu. 2., a. 3), and he accepts the proposition of Maimonides that the temporal creation of the world cannot be demonstrated or refuted by philosophical argument, but only on the basis of revealed text (ST, I, qu. 46, a. 2). On the other hand, Aquinas opposes Rabbi Moyses' radical denial of all divine attributes, by which humans attempt to explain God's being from their experience in the created world. For Aquinas, analogy remains a means of theological approach to the secrets of divinity (ST, I, qu. 13, 2). Parts of Aquinas' works were translated into Hebrew and some of his views influenced late medieval Jewish philosophers, such as hillel of Verona. Aquinas shares the usual ecclesiastical view that the Old Testament is a preparatory stage of revelation. The Mosaic legislation, however, aroused his special interest; it was a source of a type of concrete solution not offered by the New Testament (ST, I–II, qu. 108, a. 2, ad 3). He understood the Sinaitic order of society as a constitution perfectly designed for the preservation of the Hebrew people under given circumstances. For this rationalization he used concepts from Aristotle's Politics, which had just been translated from the Greek. Aquinas was also very much stimulated in this task by Maimonides' reflection on the meaning of mishpatim (general moral laws); the Latin translation of this term, praescripta iudicialia, defined for him all biblical rules that he considered politically or socially relevant. Thus, Aquinas found in the Sinaitic legislation on agrarian property a realization of the Aristotelian theory that private ownership must be justified by responsibility for social cohesion (ST, I–II, qu. 105, a. 2 ad 3). For Aquinas this model constitution was created by divine providence; its appreciation as a product of the Hebrew mind was, of course, quite outside his consideration. Treaties and extracts from the works of Aquinas were translated into Hebrew, notably by judah romano , Eli Habillo, Abraham Nehemiah b. Joseph, and others. isaac abrabanel , who apparently intended to translate one of Aquinas' works, was well acquainted with his writings. The influence of Aquinas is noticeable in medieval and later Jewish works. (Hans Liebeschutz) -BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. Guttmann, Das Verhaeltniss des Thomas von Aquino zum Judentum und zur juedischen Literatur (1891); P. Mandonnet and J. Destrez, Bibliographie Thomiste (1960), 80; E.S. Koplowitz, Abhaengigkeit Thomas… von R. Mose b. Maimon (1935); K. Foster (ed.), Life of Saint Thomas Aquinas (1959); Baron, Social, 5 (19572), 77–78, 348; Liebeschuetz, in: JJS, 13 (1962), 57–81; Steinschneider, Uebersetzungen, 483–7; E. Gilson, Christian Philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas (1956), incl. bibl.
Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.
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