Page 75 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 22

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R
osenbloom
—S. D.
L
uzzatto
s
T
houghts
and
W
ritings
69
moderate rationalistic school of philosophy could have been
somehow reconciled with Judaism, Luzzatto was nevertheless
aware that their fundamental differences were vast. Philosophy,
particularly metaphysics, was a product of the intellect. Though
fascinating, beautiful and logical, it was abstract, futile and
barren. It engaged the human mind for centuries and evolved
the most complicated and complex systems, but remained un­
productive. Judaism, on the other hand, emanates from the
heart. It aims primarily to improve and ennoble man, to teach
him goodness, kindness and compassion. Its value for mankind
is therefore immeasurable.
Luzzatto seemed to have projected the tension resulting from
his inner polarity between heart and mind into a universal
philosophy of civilization. Accordingly, there are two universal
forces, Atticism and Judaism, which mold the progress of civiliza­
tion. Atticism stems from the mind and represents reason and
philosophy; Judaism from the heart and constitutes faith and
morality. For a while Luzzatto endeavored to maintain the
shaky equilibrium between philosophy and religion by showing
that these two antithetical forces could benefit mankind on ac­
count of their contrariety. Thus he stated:
The civilization of the world today is a product of two
dissimilar elements, Atticism and Judaism. To Athens we
owe philosophy, the arts, the sciences, the development of
the intellect, order, love of beauty and grandeur, intellectual
and studied morality. To Judaism we owe religion, the
morality which springs from the heart and from selflessness
and love of good.
He soon realized, however, that the coexistence of philosophy
and religion under the guise of Atticism and Judaism could not
be long maintained. The differences were too glaring to be
glossed over and formally reconciled. Reluctantly Luzzatto was
compelled to make an agonizing reappraisal and choose be­
tween the heart and mind. Frightened by the havoc rationalism
wrought among many of his coreligionists, he chose the heart;
according to him this is the mainspring of Judaism.
The primary aim of the Torah, he declared, is to transform
the nature of man and society and to implant in every heart
the feeling of
misericordia,
a sentiment alien to Atticism and
objectionable even to philosophers of Jewish origin like Spinoza.
Relinquishing his position of neutrality between reason and
emotion, Luzzatto swung completely to the pole of the latter.
He rejected not only the rational speculations of non-Jewish
philosophers but attacked the philosophies of Maimonides and
Abraham Ibn Ezra as incompatible with Judaism. He pointed