In a classic article, Shlomo Pines argued that post-Thomistic Scholasticism, most notably Duns Scotus and the school of Parisian physics (e.g., Jean Buridan, Nicole Oresme), had a strong impact upon fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Jewish philosophy. Pines pointed in this article to the “interest displayed by contemporary Jewish thinkers in the new problems under discussion, or in the old problems in a new formulation unfamiliar to the Arabic-Jewish tradition.” In what follows I shall explore Pines' thesis against the backdrop of specific issues in Jewish philosophy. More specifically, I shall claim that Scholastic influences upon fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Jewish philosophy can be seen in the increased attention paid to Scholastic logic, in increased analysis of the logical and theological status of future contingents, in metaphysical concerns having to do with identity and individuation, and in the development of non-Aristotelian physics. Before turning to the issues themselves, however, I would like to situate this study by briefly examining important developments within the world of Christian Scholasticism.
INTRODUCTION: FAITH, BELIEF, AND HERESY IN SCHOLASTIC AND JEWISH PHILOSOPHY
In order to appreciate the content of Scholastic discussions during this period, we must say more about the importance of the condemnation of philosophy of 1277. The condemnation of 1277 represents the culmination of a series of earlier condemnations in the Christian universities, and raised the thorny issue of heresy.