Jewish Identity in Modern Times: Leo Baeck and German Protestantism

By Walter Homolka; Albert H. Friedlander | Go to book overview

IV. Medieval Jewish Philosophy and its Attitude toward Peace

Medieval Jewish philosophy 1 also contributed to the maturation process of the concept of peace, even though the way of thinking did not change considerably from that in Talmudic times.

"Around the tenth century, Europe became the center of Jewish history, and this was true for the next thousand years."2 Prospering congregations were established in Germany, France and, above all, in Spain, where a prolific exchange of ideas took place between Jews and Moslems up to the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492.

The relatively peaceful period of settlement of the Jews in central Europe ended with the Crusades in the eleventh century. These had devastating consequences, starting a period of subjugation that was to last for centuries.

The historical situation clearly shows that any real Jewish influence on international problems was out of the question at that time. The discussion on world peace, therefore, remained an academic issue, limited to the future coming of the Messiah.

____________________
1
Here, "philosophy' "does not refer to a system philosophy such as that of Plato or Aristotle. One has to realize, though, that similar developments took place at this time in Islam and then also within Judaism and Christianity, based on a revived interest in "classical" philosophy of ancient Greece.
2
Trans. from Abba Eban, Dies ist mein Volk -- Die Geschichte der Juden, Munich / Zurich, 1970, p. 137.

-44-

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