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Jewish Philosophers & Thinkers

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  • Rabbi Abraham ben Samuel Zacuto (1452 - 1515)
    Official Zacuto Website Read The Book of Lineage , or Sefer Yohassin, his Opus Magnum. Abraham Zacuto (Hebrew: אברהם זכות, Portuguese: Abraão ben Samuel Zacuto) (c. 1450 – c. 1510) Spanish astronomer m...
  • R' Nachman Hakohen Krochmal (1785 - 1840)
    R' Nachman Hakohen Krochmal is Menahem Mendel ben Abraham Krochmal's (c. 1600 – 1661) fourth great grandson.Nachman Kohen Krochmal (born in Brody, Galicia, on 17 February 1785; died at Ternopil on 31 J...
  • Samuel David Luzzatto, ShaDaL (1800 - 1865)
    Family Tree Samuel David Luzzatto (שמואל דוד לוצאטו‬‎) was an Italian Jewish scholar, poet, and a member of the Wissenschaft des Judentums movement. He is also known by his Hebrew acronym, Sha...
  • Admor Shneur Zalman of Liadi Boruchovitch (1745 - 1812)
    Shneur Zalman of Liadi (Hebrew: שניאור זלמן מליאדי‎) (September 4, 1745 – December 15, 1812 O.S.), was an Orthodox Rabbi, and the founder and first Rebbe of Chabad, a branch of Hasidic Judaism, then ba...
  • Abraham ben David "Rabad" or "Rabad III" (c.1135 - 1198)
    Abraham ben David was a Provençal rabbi, a great commentator on the Talmud, Sefer Halachot of Rabbi Yitzhak Alfasi and Mishne Torah of Maimonides, and is regarded as a father of Kabbalah and one of the...

Philo of Alexandria (Philo Judaeus), was a leader of Alexandrian Jewry and the first important Jewish philosopher, who began the synthesis of Hebrew and Greek thought (the latter primarily Platonic, but with some Aristotelian, Pythagorean, and Stoic elements). 

The medieval rabbi and philosopher Moses Maimonides continued this process of attempting to reconcile reason and revelation, philosophy and religion, the Greek and the Hebrew.  His classic work The Guide of the Perplexed had immense influence within the Jewish world and beyond, influencing such non-Jewish thinkers as Thomas Aquinas, G. W. Leibniz, and Sir Isaac Newton. 

The major Jewish figures in philosophy after Maimonides were Baruch de Spinoza, Karl Marx, Edmund Husserl, Henri Bergson, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Sir Karl Popper. Source

Representative figures


  • Aaron ben Elijah the Latter, of Nicomedia (c1328 – 1369) The most prominent Karaite theologist; Constantinople
  • Abarbanel, Don Isaac (1437 – 1508) Businessman, philosopher and theologist; Portugal, Spain, Italy
  • Abrabanel, Judah (Leone Ebreo) (c1460 – c1525) European Jewish physician, poet and philosopher; Italy
  • Abraham bar Hiyya (Hayya) (1030 – d. c1136) Jewish mathematician, astronomer and philosopher; Spain
  • Abraham ben Moses ben Maimon (1186 – 1237) Maimonides son, Nagid of Egyptian Jewish community, physician, theologist; Egypt
  • Abulafia, Abraham ben Samuel (1240 – c1295) One of the most influential mystics among the medieval esoteric Kabbalists; Spain, Acre, Safed (Israel)
  • Abulafia, Meir (1170? – 1244) Talmud commentator, thinker, and poet; Toledo (Spain)
  • Adler, Felix (1851 – 1933) German American political and social ethics scientist, rationalist, religious leader and social reformer; USA
  • Agus, Jacob Bernard (1911 – 1986) A leading thinker of the Conservative movement's liberal wing, heading several Rabbinical Assembly committees, USA
  • Ahad Ha'am (Asher Hirsch Ginsberg) (1856 – 1927), Hebrew essayist, and one of the foremost pre-state Zionist thinkers. He is known as the founder of Cultural Zionism. Odessa, London, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv.
  • Albalag, Isaac (13th century)
  • Albo, Joseph (1380 – 1444) A Jewish physician, philosopher and rabbi, known chiefly as the author of Sefer ha-Ikkarim ("Book of Principles"), the classic work on the fundamentals of Judaism. Spain
  • Altmann, Alexander (1906 – 1987) Orthodox Jewish scholar and rabbi Best known for his studies of the thought of Moses Mendelssohn, and of Jewish mysticism. Berlin, Manchester, Brandies U. MA USA


  • Baal Shem Tov (1698 – 1760), Jewish mystical rabbi considered to be the founder of Hasidic Judaism. Ukraine
  • Baeck, Leo (1873 – 1956) German Rabbi, scholar, and a leader of Progressive Judaism. He became a spiritual symbol in Theresienstadt, as leader to thousands of Jews from all parts of Nazi-occupied Europe. Germany, UK, USA
  • Baron, Salo Wittmayer (1895 – 1989) Jewish-American historian born in Galicia, considered one of the greatest researchers of the history of the Jewish people in the 20th century. Vienna, New York
  • Bergman, Shmuel Hugo (1883 -–1975) Israeli philosopher. Together with Martin Buber, founded Brit Shalom, an organization espousing a binational solution for promoting the co-existence of Jews and Arabs in the State of Israel.Prague, Jerusalem
  • Bergson, Henri Louis, Nobel Prize in Literature 1927 (1859 – 1941) A major French philosopher. Paris
  • Berkovits, Eliezer (1908 – 1992) A rabbi, theologian, and educator in the tradition of Orthodox Judaism. Berlin, Leeds (UK), Sydney, Boston, Skokie (Illinois), Jerusalem
  • Berlin, Sir Jeshaya, OM, CBE, FBA (1909 - 1997) Russian-British philosopher and historian of ideas, regarded as one of the leading thinkers of the twentieth century, and as the dominant liberal scholar of his generation. Oxford UK
  • Buber, Martin (1878 – 1965) was an Austrian-born Jewish philosopher, prolific essayist, translator, and editor. His work is predominantly dedicated to three areas: the philosophical articulation of the dialogic principle, the revival of religious consciousness among the Jews, and to the realization of this consciousness through the Zionist movement. Jerusalem


  • Cohen, Hermann Jechezkel (1842 – 1918 ) German-Jewish philosopher, one of the founders of the Marburg School of Neo-Kantianism, and he is often held to be "probably the most important Jewish philosopher of the nineteenth century". Germany
  • Cohen, Morris Raphael (1880 – 1947) Russian-born Jewish American mathematician, philosopher and educator. Chicago, New York.
  • Cordovero, Moses (Remak) (1522 – 1570) He gained a reputation of an extraordinary genius and a prolific writer, Kabbalah and Talmudic scholar and a man of commanding mastery in Jewish philosophical thought. Safed
  • Crescas, Hasdai ben Abraham (1340 – 1411) was a Spanish-Jewish philosopher, halakhist. and one of the major practitioners of the rationalist approach to Jewish philosophy. Barcelona, Zaragoza (Spain)



  • Efros, Israel Isaac (1891 - 1981) Hebrew educator, poet, and scholar. USA, Israel
  • Eleazar of Worms (Eleazar ben Judah Kaonymous) (1165 – 1236) was a leading Talmudist and Kabbalist, and the last major member of the Hasidei Ashkenaz, a group of German Jewish pietists. Germany.
  • Elijah ben Solomon Zalman (Vilna Gaon, Ha-GRA) (1720 – 1797) was Lithuania's greatest Talmudic scholar and one of Judaism's greatest spiritual and intellectual leaders of modern times. Vilnus


  • Fackenheim, Emil Ludwig (1916 – 2003) Jewish philosopher and Reform rabbi. German Canadian.
  • Falaquera (ibn Falaquera) Shem Tov ben Joseph (c1225 – 1295) a Spanish Jewish philosopher and poet and commentator. Spain
  • Formstecher, Rabbi Dr. Solomon (1808 – 1889) was a German Jewish philosopher and theologian, one of the most important Jewish thinkers in the 19th century and one of the founders of Reform Judaism. Germany
  • Friedländer, David (1750 – 1834) was a German banker, communal leader and author in Berlin, a pioneer of the practice and ideology of assimilation, and a forerunner of Reform Judaism. Berlin (Germany)


  • Gans, David ben Solomon (1541 – 1613) Jewish mathematician, historian, astronomer, astrologer, and is best known for the works Tzemach David (1592) and Nechmad ve'naim. Prague.
  • Geiger, Abraham (1810 – 1874) German rabbi and scholar who led the founding of Reform Judaism. Germany
  • Gerondi, Jonah ben Abraham (c 1200 – 1263) was a Catalan rabbi and moralist, cousin of Nahmanides. He is most famous for his ethical work The Gates of Repentance. Paris, Montpellier, Barcelona, Toledo (France Spain)
  • Gersonides - RaLBaG, Rabbi Levi ben Gershon (1288 – 1344) was a medieval French Jewish philosopher, Talmudist, mathematician, physician and astronomer/astrologer. France
  • א.ד. גורדון - Gordon, Aharon David (1856 – 1922) was a Zionist ideologue and the spiritual force behind practical Zionism and Labor Zionism. He founded Hapoel Hatzair, a movement that set the tone for the Zionist movement for many years to come. Israel
  • Graetz, Heinrich (1817 – 1891) was amongst the first historians to write a comprehensive history of the Jewish people from a Jewish perspective. Poland, Germany
  • Guttmann, Julius (Yizhak) (1880 – 1950) a German-born rabbi, Jewish theologian, and philosopher of religion. Germany


  • Heller, Yom-Tov Lipmann ben Nathan La-Levi (Yom-Tov Heller) (1579 – 1654) Bohemian rabbi and Talmudist, best known for writing a commentary on the Mishnah called the Tosafot Yom-Tov. Moravia, Vienna, Prague
  • Herberg, Will (1901 – 1977) American writer, intellectual, and scholar
  • Hersch Jeanne (1910 – 2000), Swiss philosopher.
  • Heschel, Abraham Joshua (1907 – 1972) Warsaw-born American rabbi and one of the leading Jewish theologians of the 20th century. USA
  • Hirsch, Samson (ben) Raphael (1808 – 1888) German rabbi best known as the intellectual founder of the Torah im Derech Eretz school of contemporary Orthodox Judaism and has had a considerable influence on the development of Orthodox Judaism. Germany



  • Jabes, Edmond (1912 – 1991) French writer and poet of Egyptian origin, and one of the best known literary figures writing in French after World War II. Cairo, Paris
  • Jaffa, Harry Victor (1918 – 2015) American political philosopher, historian, columnist, and professor. He was a formative influence on the American conservative movement. New York, California
  • Jerusalem, Wilhelm (1854 – 1923) was an Austrian pedagogue, Philosopher and sociologist. Vienna




  • Maimonides, Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon - Rambam (1138 – 1204), was the preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher and one of the greatest Torah scholars of the Middle Ages. He worked as a rabbi, physician, and philosopher in Spain, Morocco and Egypt. With the contemporary Muslim sage Averroes, he promoted and developed the philosophical tradition of Aristotle. Spain, Morocco, Egypt
  • Marcuse, Herbert (1898 – 1979) was a German American philosopher, sociologist, and political theorist, associated with the Frankfurt School of critical theory. Germany, USA
  • Mendelssohn, Moses (1729 – 1786) was a German Jewish philosopher to whose ideas the renaissance of European Jews, Haskalah (the Jewish Enlightenment) is indebted. For some he was the third Moses (the other two being the Biblical lawgiver and Moses Maimonides) heralding a new era in the history of the Jewish people. For others, his ideas led towards assimilation, loss of identity for Jews and the dilution of traditional Judaism. Berlin.
  • Marx, Karl (1818 – 1883) was a German-born philosopher, economist, political theorist, historian, sociologist, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. Marx's ideas and theories and their subsequent development, collectively known as Marxism, have exerted enormous influence on modern intellectual, economic, and political history. London (UK)


  • Nelson, Leonard (1882 – 1927) was a German mathematician, critical philosopher, and socialist. He was part of the neo-Friesian school (named after post-Kantian philosopher Jakob Friedrich Fries) of neo-Kantianism. Germany
  • Nahmanides - Ramban: Rabbi Moshe ben Naḥman (1194 – 1270) Ramban was a leading medieval Jewish scholar, Catalan Sephardic rabbi, philosopher, physician, kabbalist, and biblical commentator. He was raised, studied, and lived for most of his life in Girona, Catalonia and Acre (Crusaders Kingdom in Israel).



  • RanBaR, Nissim ben Reuven, Gerondi (1290 – 1376) was an influential talmudist and authority on Jewish law. He was one of the last of the great Spanish medieval Talmudic scholars. He is also known by his Hebrew acronym, the RaN (ר"ן‎). Barcelona
  • Rand, Ayn (Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum) (1905 – 1982) was a Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter. She is known for her two best-selling novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged and for developing a philosophical system she called Objectivism. St. Petersburg, Hollywood, New York.
  • RaShBA, Adret, Solomon ben Abraham ben Aderet (c1235 – c1310) Medieval banker, rabbi, halakhist, Talmudist and thinker. Barcelona, Spain
  • Rashi - רש״י, Rabbi Shlomo Itzhaki (Tzarfati) (1040 – 1105) Rashi was the outstanding Biblical commentator of the Middle Ages. He is considered the "father" of all commentaries that followed on the Talmud since the fifteenth century, Troyes (France)


  • Saʿadyā Gaon, Ben Yōsēf, saʿīd (abī) yaʿḳūb yūsuf al-fayyūmī (269–331 to 882–942) Jewish theologian, philosopher and philologist who wrote in Arabic, considered through his independence and breadth as the initiator of several Jewish intellectual disciplines, and a pioneer in mediaeval Jewish philosophy. Baghdad, Sura.
  • Shneur Zalman of Liadi - שניאור זלמן מליאדי Old Rebbe, RaShaZ (1745 – 1812) was a rabbi and the founder and first Rebbe of Chabad, a branch of Hasidic Judaism, then based in Liadi, Lithuania.
  • Spinoza (Espinoza) Baruch (1632 – 1677) was a Jewish Philosopher of Dutch origin. Revealing considerable scientific aptitude, the breadth and importance of Spinoza's work was not fully realized until years after his death. Today, he is considered one of the great rationalists of the 17th-century philosophy, laying the groundwork for the 18th century Enlightenment and modern biblical criticism. Amstergam, The Hague
  • Steinthal, Heymann (Chajim) (1823 – 1899) was a German philologist and philosopher. Germany
  • Strauss, Leo (1899 – 1973) was a German–American political philosopher and classicist who specialized in classical political philosophy. Germany, England, USA



  • Vives, Juan Luis (1493 – 1540) was a Spanish (Valencian) scholar and Renaissance humanist who spent most of his adult life in the southern Hapsburg Netherlands. His beliefs on the soul, insight into early medical practice, and perspective on emotions, memory and learning earned him the title of the "father" of modern psychology. Vives was the first to shed light on some key ideas that established how psychology is perceived today. France, England, Holland


  • Weil, Simone Adolphine (1909 – 1943) was a French philosopher, mystic, and social activist. France
  • Wiener, Norbert (1894 – 1964) was an American mathematician, computer scientist and philosopher. He became an early researcher in stochastic and mathematical noise processes, contributing work relevant to electronic engineering, electronic communication, and control systems. Wiener is considered the originator of cybernetics, the science of communication as it relates to living things and machines. USA
  • Wertheimer, Max (1880 – 1943) Czech-born psychologist, one of the founders, with Kurt Koffka and Wolfgang Köhler, of Gestalt psychology, which attempts to examine psychological phenomena as structural wholes, rather than breaking them down into components. Germany, USA
  • Wittgenstein. Ludwig (1889 – 1951) was an Austrian philosopher. He is known for having inspired two of the century's principal philosophical movements, logical positivism and ordinary language philosophy. Vienna, Cambridge (UK).


  • Yehuda Halevi יהודה הלוי (Judah ha-Levi) (1075 – 1141) was a Spanish Jewish poet, physician and philosopher. Halevi is considered one of the greatest Hebrew poets, celebrated both for his secular and religious poems, many of which appear in present-day liturgy. His most famous philosophical work is the Sefer ha-Kuzari. Granada (Spain), Jerusalem, (Crusaders Kingdom of Jerusalem)


  • Zacuto, Abraham ben Shmuel - אַבְרָהָם בֵּן שְׁמוּאֵל זַכּוּת c (1452 – c. 1515) was a Castilian astronomer, astrologer, mathematician, rabbi and historian who served as Royal Astronomer to King John II of Portugal. His astrolabe of copper, his astronomical tables and maritime charts played an important role in the Spanish and Portuguese navigation capability. Spain, Portugal, Tunis, Turkey
  • Zilsel , Edgar (1891 – 1944} was an Austrian-American historian and philosopher of science. He is considered to be among the modern "pioneers of the sociology of science". Vienna, California
  • Zunz, Leopold (Yom Tov Lippmann) (1794 – 1886) was a German Reform rabbi and writer, the founder of what has been termed the "Science of Judaism", the critical investigation of Jewish literature, hymnology and ritual. Zunz's historical investigations and contemporary writings had an important influence on contemporary Judaism. Germany