- Reasoned Belief: Saadia Gaon | History of Philosophy without any gapsIn his philosophical commitment to reason and revelation as joint grounds for knowing and living, Saadya creates a space for the interplay of faith, understanding, tradition, and law. Saadya defends the truth as well as the reasonableness of Biblical and rabbinic writings within the Jewish tradition, engages in polemics against members of the Jewish community who dispense with rabbinic authority, and brings a unique blend of philosophical and theological sensibilities to bear on questions of epistemology, morality and religion. Theologian, philosopher and rabbi, Saadya's legacy includes a number of philosophical and theological treatises, 2 Arabic translations of the Bible, a [mostly non-extant] Biblical commentary in Arabic, various rabbinical, mathematical, and grammatical writings, a Hebrew dictionary, liturgical poems and a Jewish prayer book. A key figure in the life of the Jewish community, Saadya's rabbinic career included influential involvement in a controversial Jewish calendrical reform and a contested rise to the position of head Rabbi at the Sura Academy. In his general philosophical comportment, Saadya upholds the need for and importance of reason, even in a religious context of revelation and faith. In this magnum opus, Saadya aims to move people beyond the various epistemological and existential paralyses through which they are consigned to living always and only in the shadows of error and doubt. Concerned to help cure this distinctive human ill, Saadya hopes to provide people instead with truth and certainty — the grounds for right living.
The Book of Beliefs and Opinions - Treatise 1 Chapter 3 Part 1
The Book of Beliefs and Opinions
The work was originally in Juedo-Arabic, Arabic written in Hebrew letters with quotations from the Torah. An unabridged translation into English by Samuel Rosenblatt was published in The work was mainly written as a defence of Rabbinic Judaism against the views of Karaite Judaism , which rejects the oral law Mishnah and Talmud. In his detailed introduction, Saadia speaks of the reasons that led him to compose it. His heart was grieved when he saw the confusion concerning matters of religion that prevailed among his contemporaries, finding an unintelligent belief and unenlightened views current among those who professed Judaism, while those who denied the faith triumphantly vaunted their errors. Men were sunken in the sea of doubt and overwhelmed by the waves of spiritual error, and there was none to help them; so that Saadia felt himself called and duty bound to save them from their peril by strengthening the faithful in their belief and by removing the fears of those who were in doubt. After a general presentation of the causes of infidelity and the essence of belief, Saadia describes the three natural sources of knowledge: namely, the perceptions of the senses, the light of reason, and logical necessity, as well as the fourth source of knowledge possessed by those that fear God, the "veritable revelation" contained in the Scriptures.
Saadia Gaon Saadia ben Joseph — has an important place in medieval Jewish philosophy, and was a distinguished translator of Bible into Arabic , commentator, author of a Hebrew dictionary and the earliest known Hebrew grammar, and a contributor to liturgy. In The Book of Belief and Opinions , he formulated many of the main problems of medieval Jewish philosophy. While later thinkers disagreed with him in many respects e. He was not doctrinally committed to one or another philosophical approach or system, such as Neoplatonism or Aristotelianism. While his thought shows the influence of kalam , he is important for helping shape a rationalist disposition in Jewish philosophy. In The Book of Beliefs and Opinions , he argues that there are adequate replies to skeptics and other critics who object that Judaism lacks rational justification. He elaborated a rich moral psychology with some Platonic resonances and some Aristotelian resonances, integrated in a way that showed the wisdom of Torah as the guide to life.