Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, April 18th, 2024
the Third Week after Easter
StudyLight.org has pledged to help build churches in Uganda. Help us with that pledge and support pastors in the heart of Africa.
Click here to join the effort!

Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia

Search for…
Prev Entry
Loewy, Maurice
Next Entry
Logos, the
Resource Toolbox
Additional Links

The science of correct thinking; the science of the principles governing the comparative and constructive faculties in the pursuit and use of truth. Although, judging from the principles that were propounded by the Tannaim for the deduction of halakot from the Biblical text, it can be surmised that the Rabbis were acquainted with the laws of syllogisms, analogies, etc., no mention of logical science is made in Jewish literature prior to the Judæo-Arabic period (see TALMUD). It was only with the transplantation of the Arabo-Greek philosophy to Jewish soil that the Aristotelian "Organon," as propounded by the Arabs, became the vade-mecum of every Jewish student, and was regarded as indispensable to the acquisition of metaphysical and psychological knowledge. The Hebrew terms adopted for "logic" were , which is the literal translation of the Arabic "'ilm al-kalam," and , corresponding to the Arabic "'ilm al-manṭiḳ," each signifying both "the science of speech" and "the science of thinking." The term "hokmat higgayon" was, according to Shem-Ṭob ("Sefer ha-Emunot," p. 45), first so employed by the Tibbonides. It is found also in the Talmud, but in the sense of "recitation." Eliezer said to his pupils, "Restrain your children from " (Ber. 28b), intending thereby to warn them against parading a superficial knowledge of the Bible gained by verbal memorization. The anti-Maimonists, however, interpreted the word "higgayon" in the sense of "logic," and saw in Eliezer's saying a warning against the study of that science.

First Jewish Work on Logic.

The first work on logic written by a Jew was the "Maḳalah fi Ṣana'at al-Manṭiḳ" of Maimonides (12th cent.), translated into Hebrew by Moses ibn Tibbon under the title "Millot ha-Higgayon." It is divided into fourteen chapters containing explanations of 175 logical terms. The Hebrew terminology used by the translator has been adopted by all subsequent writers on Hebrew philosophical literature. The eight books of the "Organon," without counting Porphyry's introduction, are enumerated. The "Millot ha-Higgayon" was first published with two anonymous commentaries at Venice in 1552, and has since passed through fourteen editions. Commentaries upon it were written by Mordecai Comtino (15th cent.) and by Moses Mendelssohn. A Latin translation was published by Sebastian Münster (Basel, 1527); and German ones were made by M. S. Neumann (Venice, 1822) and Heilberg (Breslau, 1828).

Translations of Al-Farabi.

During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries Jewish literature was enriched with several writings on logic. The works of Al-Farabi and of Averroes were translated and commented upon; and the translations have survived the originals. Of Al-Farabi's essays on logic the following are still extant in Hebrew manuscripts in various European libraries: the introduction (Arabic, "Tauṭiyah"; Hebr. ), in three versions; the "Isagoge of Porphyry"; "Hermeneutics"; "Posterior Analytics,"the translation of which is attributed to Moses ibn Tibbon; "Topics," in two versions; and "Syllogisms," an abridgment of which was made by Jacob ben Abba Mari Anatoli under the title "Sefer Heḳesh Ḳaẓer." A commentary on Al-Farabi's five chapters on logic was written in the fifteenth century by the Karaite Abraham Bali. Of Averroes' Short Commentary there are two Hebrew versions: one made by Jacob ben Machir of Montpellier in 1189 and published under the title "Kol Meleket Higgayon" at Riva di Trenta in 1559, and the other made by Samuel Marsili ben Judah of Tarascon in 1329. A Latin translation of Jacob ben Machir's version was made by Abraham de Balmes. A commentary on the Short Commentary was written by Moses Narboni (1340-55). Of Averroes' Middle Commentaries those on Porphyry's introduction, "Categories," "Interpretation," "Syllogisms," and "Demonstration" were translated by Jacob ben Abba Mari Anatoli; on "Topics" and "Sophistical Refutations," by Kalonymus ben Kalonymus of Arles in 1313; on "Rhetoric" and "Poetics" by Todros Todrosi of Trinquetaille in 1337. Anatoli's translation of the first five books was used by Joseph Caspi, who wrote an abridgment of the books on logic under the title "Ẓeror ha-Kesef." A translation from the Greek of Aristotle's logic was made in the fourteenth century by Shemariah ben Elijah Ikriti of Negropont. At the end of the same century Joseph ben Moses Kilti treated, in his work "Minḥat Yehudah," of Aristotle's logic in the fashion of the aphorisms of Hippocrates. Shortly after appeared a work on Aristotle's logic written by Elijah ben Eliezer of Candia. Another original work of the same period was the "Kelale Higgayon" of David ibn Bilia.

Averroes' Middle Commentaries were much commented upon during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The oldest supercommentary known is that found in the Vatican Library (MS. No. 337). It dates from 1316 and deals with Porphyry's "Isagoge," "Categories," and "Hermeneutics." The other known supercommentaries of the fourteenth century are those of: Jedaiah Bedersi, mentioned by Moses Ḥabib; Levi ben Gershon, a Latin translation of which is still extant in manuscript in the Vatican Library (see "Atti dell' Academia dei Nuovi Lincei," Rome, 1863); Judah ben Samuel Abbas; and Abraham Abigdor ben Meshullam (Bonet). A rimed résumé of Porphyry's introduction and the "Categories" was given by Moses Rieti in his "Miḳdash Me'aṭ."

Commentaries on Logic.

To the writings on logic of the fifteenth century belong: the supercommentary on Averroes' Middle Commentaries, and the abridgment of Logic, entitled "Miklol Yofi," by Messer Leon (Judah ben Jehiel); the abridgment of the "Categories," "Syllogisms," and "Demonstration" by Abraham Farissol; the commentary on the "Isagoge" by Joseph ben Shem-Ṭob; the commentaries on the "Isagoge," "Categories," and "Interpretation" by Elijah Habillo; the annotations on Averroes' Middle Commentary on the "Categories" and "Interpretation" by Manoah Sho'ali; and several anonymous commentaries on various books on logic. A supercommentary on the "Posterior Analytics" was written by Abraham Bibago. Of Averroes' questions on the "Organon," contained in the "Masa'il fi al-Ḥikmah," one portion was translated by Kalonymus ben Kalonymus, and the whole by Samuel ben Meshullam in 1320 under the title "Ha-She'elot ha-Dibriyyot weha-Derushim Asher le-Pilusufim." A commentary on two portions was written by Levi ben Gershon. From Samuel's translation proceeded the Latin version made by Abraham de Balmes, which was first published in 1550. Another Latin translation of six portions was made by Elijah Delmedigo. Samuel ben Judah translated into Hebrew other questions on logic proceeding from the Arabic writers Abu al-Ḳasim ben Idris, Abu al-Ḥajjaj ibn Ṭalmus, Abu al-'Abbas Aḥmad ben Ḳasim, and 'Abd al-Raḥman ben Ṭahir. These questions also were rendered into Latin by Abraham de Balmes. An original writer on logic of the fifteenth century was Mordecai Comtino.

Like the other branches of philosophy, the study of logic has since the sixteenth century been neglected by the Jews, and no important work on this science has been published in Hebrew. Among the Jewish logicians of modern times the most notable was Solomon Maimon, who wrote "Versuch Einer Neuen Logik" (Berlin, 1794), in which he attempted to expound an algebraic or symbolic system of logic.

  • Munk, Mélanges, p. 108 et passim;
  • Renan, Averroès et l'Averroïsme, pp. 184 et seq.;
  • Steinschneider, Hebr. Uebers. pp. 43 et seq.;
  • idem, Al-Farabi, Index.
I. Br.
Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Logic'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​tje/​l/logic.html. 1901.
adsFree icon
Ads FreeProfile