Page 76 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 22

Basic HTML Version

e w i s h
o o k
n n u a l
out that the principles and tenets of the Jewish religion are
the most natural expression of man. Consequently, there is no
need to validate them rationally. He maintained that Judaism
which assumed a legislative form in the times of Moses was only
an official reaffirmation of the natural religion professed by
Abraham and his children unaided by supernatural and hetero-
nomous revelation. Judaism in the form of Abrahamism is ac­
cessible to every one regardless of time or geographical location
and is, therefore, both natural and universal. Abrahamism and
Atticism continue to struggle for supremacy and only with the
victory of Abrahamism will mankind attain salvation.
The hundred years that have elapsed since Luzzatto’s death
provide us with a historic perspective to analyze his ideas and
to evaluate his works. Many of his problems were solved by
subsequent scholars or elucidated by further research. The
main problem, however, resulting from the polarity between
mind and heart so fundamental in Luzzatto’s intellectual make­
up, still continues to plague us. The intervening century did
not resolve this agonizing problem; it agitates our generation
with even greater intensity than it did Luzzatto. While the
palliatives he offered seem inadequate and the equilibrium he
pursued even more tenuous, the endeavors of this great polyhistor
still are intriguing and will continue to fascinate students of
Judaism and intellectual history.