Avraham Melamed

Publications by Avraham Melamed

Isaac Abravanel and Aristotle’s Politics: A Drama of Errors

Aristotle’s Politics was almost unknown in medieval Jewish philosophy, which in its political thought was mainly based upon Plato’s Republic as transmitted by the Muslim commentators. This is why Abravanel’s apparent usage of the Politics in his antimonarchist interpretation of I Samuel, 8 seems to be such a breakthrough in medieval Jewish political philosophy. Such a breakthrough seems conceivable when we take into consideration the influence exerted on Abravanel by scholastic political philosophy, which was heavily influenced by the Politics ever since the text was translated into Latin in the thirteenth century.
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The Attitude Towards Democracy in Medieval Jewish Philosophy

Medieval Jewish thought, following Platonic and Muslim political philosophy, on the one hand, and halakhic concepts, on the other, was basically, although reluctantly, monarchist, and inherently anti democratic. It rejected outright what we term here as the ancient Greek variety of liberal democracy, which went against its basic philosophical and theological assumptions.
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Jethro’s Advice in Medieval and Early Modern Jewish and Christian Political Thought

Jethro’s advice to Moses about how to organize the political system of the ancient Jewish state (Ex. 18:13-27; Deut. 1:12-17) was one of the three major biblical sources which were used in medieval and early modern political thought. (The other sources are Deut. 17 and I Samuel 8.) This text was mainly used in two related contexts? the theory of government, in which the commentators generally followed Aristotle, and the relationship between the spiritual and temporal authorities? between
kingship and prophecy? in which a strong Platonic-Alfarabian influence is apparent. This study takes into account the changing historical realities and intellectual trends of the medieval and early modern periods.
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