The Conception of the Torah as a Deductive Science in Medieval Jewish Thought

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In this essay the author argues that Joseph Albo was the first medieval Jewish philosopher actually to attempt an axiomatic presentation of Judaism because while he accepted the Maimonidean thesis that the Torah was a deductive science he rejected the thesis that the content of that science was physics and metaphysics. Those of his predecessors who accepted both theses had no need to present an axiomatic account of Judaism since this was, in effect, the task of physicists and metaphysicians. Albo, however, was the first of the medieval Jewish philosophers who at one and the same time accepted the methodological claim that the Torah should be structured like a deductive science and rejected the claim that its truest content was physics and metaphysics. In their place he claimed that the content of the 'science of Torah' was law or commandment. The Torah conceived in such a fashion had never been axiomatized and Albo took the task upon himself. At the end of the essay the author suggests why Albo adopted his position.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-279
Number of pages15
JournalRevue des Etudes Juives
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1987


  • Bible -- Criticism, interpretation, etc. -- History -- Middle Ages, 600-1500
  • Bible -- Influence
  • Jewish philosophy -- Middle Ages, 500-1500
  • Philosophy


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