Working Paper No. 3/2014 | Al-Ghazali and Jehuda Halevi: Speaking of the Ineffable
Beate Ulrike La Sala – 2014
The paper investigates Halevi’s theory of divine attributes as an example of the transfer of knowledge from the Classical Arabic philosophy to Judeo-Arabic philosophy. To this end, the depiction of divine attributes in Al-Ghazālī’s Al-Iqtiṣād fī al-i‛tiqād is compared to that offered by Halevi in the Sefer ha-Kuzari. The initial extended delineation of Al-Ghazālī’s account constitutes the background for the investigation of Halevi’s approach, in order to facilitate the comparison of both. The investigation of the discussion of divine attributes in the works of both authors does not only serve to demonstrate the similarities of both when it comes to their indebtedness towards and their criticism of the Neoplatonic-Aristotelian philosophical tradition. It also serves to illustrate their understanding of metaphorical and figurative language. Furthermore, the paper aims to show what parts of Al-Ghazālī’s thinking became transformed in this transfer process due to the different religious context.