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How Medieval Jewish Scholars Made Socrates into a Pious Monotheist - Mosaic
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How Medieval Jewish Scholars Made Socrates into a Pious Monotheist

In the Middle Ages, Jewish thinkers in the Arabic-speaking world were aware of the Athenian philosopher Socrates, but they had little or no access to the first-hand accounts of his life by Plato and others. Instead, Yehuda Halper explains, two versions of the ancient philosopher emerged in Judaic sources: one was a skeptic, familiar to modern readers, but the other was an ascetic monotheist, whom one Hebrew writer even imagined reciting a surprisingly rabbinic daily prayer. This bifurcation of Socrates, moreover, is unique to Jewish sources. (Video, 80 minutes.)

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Read more at Great Thinkers

More about: Jewish Thought, Middle Ages, Socrates

A Senior Saudi Political Figure Takes the Palestinian Leadership to Task

In an extended television interview with an Arab broadcaster, Prince Bandar bin Sultan—who served for twenty years as the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., for a decade as head of the Saudi National Security Council, and two years as intelligence chief—responded forcefully to the Palestinian claim that the Gulf states have, by normalizing relations with Israel, “stabbed the Palestinians in the back.” Defending Saudi devotion to the Palestinian cause, Prince Bandar delivered a lengthy history of his country’s role in the Arab-Israeli conflict, in which he bluntly upbraided Palestinian leaders, and Yasir Arafat above all, for squandering chances at statehood and for their lack of “ethics.” While Bandar’s sentiments can hardly be described as pro-Israel, he asserted that the Palestinian leaders are every bit as responsible as the Jewish state for the plight of their people:

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Read more at Al Arabiya

More about: Israel-Arab relations, Palestinians, Saudi Arabia, Yasir Arafat