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6074Lecture on Ibn Gabirol

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  • robin friedman
    Oct 12, 2013
      I attended a lecture yesterday at a series sponsored by the Philosophy Department at Catholic University, Washington, D.C.  Sarah Pessin, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Jewish Studies spoke on "Piety, Love and Emanation in Islamic and Jewish Neoplatonism: Intermediation with Divine Presence and other Implications of Divine Dialectic."
      Although Dr. Pessin discussed several thinkers, her focus was on the Jewish philosopher and poet Ibn Gabirol and on Plotinus.  Her claim was that philosophers tend to read both Plotinus and Ibn Gabirol too dogmatically. She sees the treatment of emanation in most neo-Platonists as less of a dogma and of a specific teaching than as a dialectic that shows how God can somehow be both immanent and transcendent.  Plotinian dialectic is a way of suggesting the character of God that cannot be expressed in words. Dr. Pessin wanted to bridge the alleged gap between creationist and Neo-Platonist theologies.
      As might be expected, Dr. Pessin's lecture provoked lively discussion with the audience which included several learned scholars of Neo-Platonism. Readers of this thread doubtless would have found the talk and question and answer session of interest.
      Dr Pessin's book, "Ibn Gabirol's Philosophy of Desire: Matter and Method in Medieval Jewish Neoplatonism" has just been published by Cambridge University Press. Again, participants on this thread, especially those with an interest in Jewish philosophy, would likely be interested.
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