Crescas, Hasdai Ben Abraham (1340—1410) (Spanish Jewish Philosopher)


Spinoza , Joseph Ben Shem Tov

Influenced by:

Profiat Duran (Isaac ben Moses Halevi), Averroism (Abu Walid Ibn Rushd)


The Light of the Lord, (Or Adonai)

  The refutation of the Christian Principles (written originally in Spanish)

Crescas is known for his polemics against Aristotelian philosophy (adopted by Maimonides and Gersonides) and christianity. He was an important Jewish leader at the time of Christian pogroms against Jews in Spanish and in one of the ensuing riots- in 1391 - his only son was killed. Although an opponent of Aristotelian philosophy he used it extensively in the critique of Christian principles

Crescas saw the principle beliefs of christianity lieing in original sin and redemption from it, trinity and incarnation, virgin birth and transubstantiation, baptism and messianism, a new book of laws and 'demons'? His problem with these beliefs is that they are not compatible with or contradict human reason:

“Faith can not force the intellect to believe something that is self-contradictory. The divine power cannot be imagined to be able to contradict first principles, nor deriviatives which are explained by absolute proofs, because these are derived from the first principles”� - Quoted in Lasker – Jews in Philosophical Polemics against Christianity in the middle ages – Ktau Publishing House, New York 1977.

Harry Austryn Wolfson, Crescas's Critique of Aristotle: Problems of Aristotle's Physics in Jewish and Arabic Philosophy (Cambridge, 1929) Hasdai Crescas, The Refutation of the Christian Principles, tr. by Daniel J. Lasker (SUNY, 1992)

Warren Zev Harvey, Physics and Metaphysics in Hasdai Crescas (Benjamin's, 1999)