The Art of Dia­logue in Jew­ish Philosophy

Aaron W. Hughes
  • Review
By – March 9, 2012
This is a fas­ci­nat­ing book about the his­toric role of dia­logue as a lit­er­ary device in the works of five Jew­ish philoso­phers, span­ning the 11th – 18th cen­turies. Hugh­es con­tex­tu­al­izes this genre both glob­al­ly, with regard to what was occur­ring for the Jews in the larg­er non-Jew­ish world in which they resided, as well as par­tic­u­lar­ly for each of the five philoso­phers and their sem­i­nal dia­logue lit­er­ary work. Par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ing was the chap­ter on Judah Abravanel’s Dialoghi D’Amore, which enjoyed wide­spread pop­u­lar­i­ty in the non- Jew­ish world and involved as its two pro­tag­o­nists— rather unique­ly — a man and a woman, pre­sent­ed as co-equals. Hugh­es’ dis­cus­sion of Moses Mendelssohn’s Phae­don was also of inter­est due to its enor­mous lit­er­ary suc­cess, as mea­sured both by its mul­ti­ple print­ings and trans­la­tion into numer­ous lan­guages. This book is prob­a­bly bet­ter suit­ed for aca­d­e­mics steeped in phi­los­o­phy, intel­lec­tu­al his­to­ry, and/​or Jew­ish his­to­ry than for the layper­son. Bib­li­og­ra­phy, index, notes.
William Liss-Levin­son is vice pres­i­dent, chief strat­e­gy & oper­a­tions offi­cer of Cas­tle Con­nol­ly Med­ical Ltd., a con­sumer health research, infor­ma­tion, and pub­lish­ing com­pa­ny. He holds a Ph.D. in edu­ca­tion and is a mem­ber of the board of direc­tors of the Jew­ish Book Council.

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