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Beyond Reasonable Doubt$
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Louis Jacobs

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774587

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774587.001.0001

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Modernism and Interpretation

Modernism and Interpretation

(p.205) Ten Modernism and Interpretation
Beyond Reasonable Doubt

Louis Jacobs

Liverpool University Press

This chapter connects theological approach to the historical critical one by considering three significant Jewish themes: the purpose of creation, “enjoyment of life”, and the doctrine of imitatio dei. It examines the history of the three themes in Jewish thought with a view to showing how precarious is the position of moderns, to be so convinced both that their new ideas are valuable and that the sources they anticipated become guilty of anachronism in their interpretations. The chapter also discusses Sa'adya Gaon's topic on “creation” in his Sefer ha'emunot vehade'ot as response to those who wonder the purpose God's creation of all creatures. Sa'adya suggests that God, being God, does not, like a human being, need a motive for what He does and may not have had any motive in creating the world. He seems to be saying that arbitrary acts are possible for God.

Keywords:   creation, enjoyment of life, imitatio dei, anachronism, Sa'adya Gaon, Sefer ha'emunot vehade'ot, arbitrary acts, Jewish thought

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