Criticism of aristotelian science in fourteenth-century jewish thought

Esti Eisenmann, Shalom Sadik

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Modern scholarship has observed that the New Science did not emerge ex nihilo, but had its roots in the scholastics' criticism of Aristotelian science in the fourteenth century. Until about a decade ago, the dominant view in the literature was that the Jewish philosophers did not participate in this scholastic trend until Hasdai Crescas (1340-1410), who was the first Hispano-Jewish philosopher to elaborate a basic and systematic criticism of Aristotelian physics and propose an alternative to it. The present article demonstrates that Jewish criticism of Aristotelian science was more widespread than has been thought and touched on much broader issues. We will look at two fourteenth-century Spanish thinkers, Abner of Burgos (1260/70-1348) and Moses ben Judah (mid-fourteenth century), and their critiques of two elements of Aristotelian physics: (1) the status of prime matter, and (2) natural place and its relations to motion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-137
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Jewish Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Religious studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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