Religious and Civil Authority

Prof. Raphi Jospe
Bar-Ilan University

Jospe discusses the notion of religious and civil authority, as analyzed by medieval thinkers such as Maimonides, Al-Farabi and more. Maimonides’ dichotomy of two aspects of religious life: activism and contemplation, is at the center of this lecture. By presenting various texts and their historical contexts, Jospe presents the ongoing debate of these two aspects from the Greek philosophers to medieval philosophers. He concludes by synthesizing the two points of view according to Maimonides: individual learning must be accompanied with knowledge sharing which ultimately leads to action. This lecture is accompanied with a lively discussion session.