The medieval Jewish philosophical exegesis of the "voice" or "speech" of God is directly related to the issues of the divine essence, and the connection between God and His creatures. The Jewish philosophers were unanimous in their agreement with the Aristotelian view of God's incorporeality. This led them to seek figurative interpretations of the divine "voice". There was no universal consensus, however, in regard to the issue of the connection between God and man, a connection which in the Aristotelian view also entails corporeality. Both Saadiah Gaon and Judah Halevi present the view that the divine speech is audible, and created directly by God. This view affirms the immediate connection between God and man in history. Maimonides distinguishes between the divine "speech" and the "voice of God". The former is treated in a naturalistic manner, in conformity with the Aristotelian world view. The "voice of God", on the other hand, is labeled by Maimonides a "created voice", and associated with Mosaic prophecy and the revelation at Sinai. This position alludes to a direct link between God and man in history. There are good reasons, however, for regarding this position as Maimonides' exoteric view. In his esoteric view, the "voice" signals a special but natural overflow, rather than audible sounds created directly by God. Gersonides also distinguishes between "speech" and "voice", and accepts Maimonides' view concerning the former. The "voice", however, he treats as an audible one, thereby maintaining in this instance a literal understanding of Scripture. The "voice" is regarded by Gersonides as a miracle, miracles being an aspect of the impersonal workings of the Active Intellect. Gersonides' theory is designed to uphold both philosophic naturalism and the belief in a special providence operating directly in history.
|Translated title of the contribution
|"The Voice of God" In Medieval Jewish Philosophical Exegesis
|Number of pages
|דעת: כתב-עת לפילוסופיה יהודית וקבלה
|Published - 1986