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Philo Judaeus
(c. 25 B.C. - c. 50 A.D.)

Isaac Israeli
(c. 850 - 950)

(892 - 942)

David Ibn Merwan

(? - c. 937)

Solomon Ibn Gabirol
(c.1021 - c. 1058)

Abraham Bar Hiyya
(c. 1065 - 1136)

Bahya Ibn Pakuda
(c. 1050)

Judah Halevi
(c. 1080 - 1140)

(c. 12th or 13th century)

Hahasid, Judah ben Samuel
of Regensburg

(12th & 13th centuries)

[Moses Ben Maimon]
(1135 - 1204)

[Levi ben Gershon]
(1288 - 1344)

Hasdai Crescas
(1340 - 1410)

Joseph Albo
(c. 1380 - 1445)

Isaac Abravanel

Judah Abravanel
(c. 1460 - 1530)

Joseph Solomon Delmedigo
(1591 - 1655)

Moses Hayim Luzzatto
(1707 - 1747)

Baal Shem-Tov
(1700 - 1760)

Benedict Spinoza
(1632 - 1677)

Moses Mendelssohn
(1729 - 1786)

Salomon Maimon
(1753 - 1800)

Moses Hess
(1812 - 1875)

Hermann Cohen
(1842 - 1918)

Asher Ginzberg
(1856 - 1927)

Martin Buber
(1878 - 1965)

Franz Rosenzweig
(1886 - 1929)



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Background Information

Greek philosophy was the major formative influence on the later philosophical traditions of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. In all three, the theories of the Greeks, particularly Plato and Aristotle, were employed to clarify and develop the basic beliefs of the religious traditions.

Philo of Alexandria introduced Platonic ideas and methods into Jewish thought, particularly into the interpretation of Scripture about the beginning of the Christian era. He exerted little influence on later Jewish thought, however, and the Jewish philosophy of the Middle Ages seems to have developed as a movement parallel to those in Islam.

Important figures in early medieval Jewish thought include Isaac Israeli, Saadia ben Joseph Gaon, and the Neoplatonist Solomon ibn Gabirol. The most important Jewish thinker of the Middle Ages, however, was Maimonides. Maimonides developed a comprehensive interpretation of religion and understanding based on Aristotelian principles that was influential in the Christian West as well as among Jewish thinkers.

In Judaism, as in Islam and Christianity, religious speculation and philosophy developed in close connection. This development is particularly evident in the Jewish mystical tradition, the Kabbalah. The esoteric teachings of these schools have influenced much later Jewish thought, including that of Spinoza, the most important Jewish philosopher of the early modern period. Drawing both on his religious background and on the geometric method of Descartes, Spinoza developed a philosophical pantheism of great depth.

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