May 6, 2014 7:38 pm at 7:38 pm #612711
There are two versions in the Seder Hadoros. According to both of these versions, Aristotle converted to Judaism at the end of his life.
Are there any secular sources that chronicle this?May 6, 2014 9:33 pm at 9:33 pm #1014578
He was forced to drink poison.May 6, 2014 9:57 pm at 9:57 pm #1014579–Participant
He was forced to drink poison.
It was Socrates who was forced to drink poison.May 6, 2014 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm #1014580
It was Socrates who was forced to drink poison.
How would you know? Were you there?May 7, 2014 12:13 am at 12:13 am #1014581👑RebYidd23Participant
I was. Socrates was not forced to drink poison. He was offered a chance to escape. he chose the poison.May 7, 2014 12:20 am at 12:20 am #1014582
I was. Socrates was not forced to drink poison. He was offered a chance to escape. he chose the poison.
No, that was the sasquatch you saw. You’re confusing them.May 7, 2014 3:38 am at 3:38 am #1014583
Aristotle is the hero who saved philosophy by not allowing them to sin against it again.
Anyhow, whether it’s true or not, he is not the center of our focus these days and you don’t get much points by adding him to your club.May 7, 2014 4:19 am at 4:19 am #1014584oomisParticipant
It was Socrates who was given hemlock (I believe), and drank it, rather than face death by his enemies. Either way, ewwwww!
Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn’t the Rambam interested in the philosophical works of Aristotle?May 7, 2014 4:54 pm at 4:54 pm #1014585👑RebYidd23Participant
Socrates was a wizard. He drank poison and became a ghost.May 7, 2014 5:24 pm at 5:24 pm #1014586simcha613Participant
When I was younger I had a video game system called Socrates. I think there was a robot involved.May 8, 2014 5:55 pm at 5:55 pm #1014587Bookworm120Participant
I think he became very rich.May 8, 2014 7:43 pm at 7:43 pm #1014588
this was supposed to be an academic thread, but whateverMay 8, 2014 9:07 pm at 9:07 pm #1014589zahavasdadParticipant
Do you mean Aristotle or Nero?May 8, 2014 9:16 pm at 9:16 pm #1014590
Do you mean Aristotle or Nero?
AristotleMay 9, 2014 12:45 am at 12:45 am #1014591To be or not to beMember
Socrates was offered a chance to escape home to his wife . he chose the poison.May 9, 2014 1:34 am at 1:34 am #1014592
this was supposed to be about Aristotle, but whateverMay 9, 2014 2:20 am at 2:20 am #1014594To be or not to beMember
don’t know the difference it’s all Greek to meMay 9, 2014 3:32 pm at 3:32 pm #1014595zahavasdadParticipant
You might be thinking of Nero, the Gemorah in Brachot (I think) says Nero converted and is an ancestor of Rabbi MeirMay 9, 2014 6:27 pm at 6:27 pm #1014596
this was supposed to be about Aristotle, but whateverMay 9, 2014 9:00 pm at 9:00 pm #1014597
To answer the original question, there is no hint in secular sources of Aristotle converting. In fact, it’s Mashma from the Rambam and other Rishonim (who try to deal with the question of how Aristotle could have been so close to the truth yet remained an Apikores) that they hold he didn’t either.May 9, 2014 9:18 pm at 9:18 pm #1014598
To answer the original question, there is no hint in secular sources of Aristotle converting.
Nor of unkelos converting.
In fact, it’s Mashma from the Rambam and other Rishonim (who try to deal with the question of how Aristotle could have been so close to the truth yet remained an Apikores) that they hold he didn’t either.
Maybe they’re talking about before he converted.May 9, 2014 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm #1014599
PBA: So they’re asking why a genius wasn’t raised to believe? If the question is how did he not come to seeing God because he was so smart and the answer was that he did, someone should have said so.
That aside, the OP asked if there are any secular sources for him converting. I said there aren’t. (Are there secular sources of Onkelos even existing?)May 9, 2014 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm #1014600
What, so if he died a year earlier there would be a good kasha, but now there isn’t?
Isn’t a good enough kasha that he didn’t convert until he was old?
And nobody says that answer because they didn’t know! We only figured it out now!May 9, 2014 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm #1014601
PBA: That’s Kefirah in the absolute knowledge of the Rishonim. I can’t drink your wine (or hemlock) anymore.May 9, 2014 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm #1014602
You koifer mamash!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Lo bashamayim hi! It wasn’t true before we figured it out!May 9, 2014 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm #1014603
PBA: Koifer Ben Koifer!!!!!!!!!!
We don’t have the knowledge to figure anything out. Chazal and the Rishonim knew everything that ever was and will be through Sod Hashem Liraiav.
**NO ACTUAL INSULT INTENDED TO POPA’S FATHER IN THIS POST**May 11, 2014 4:29 am at 4:29 am #1014604☕ DaasYochid ☕Participant
Isn’t popa ben achar ben from Aristotle?May 11, 2014 8:14 am at 8:14 am #1014605YW Moderator-42ModeratorMay 11, 2014 10:48 am at 10:48 am #1014606charliehallParticipant
Popa, please cite the Jewish source for Aristotle’s alleged conversion so we can discuss.May 11, 2014 1:19 pm at 1:19 pm #1014607
Chazal and the Rishonim knew everything that ever was and will be through Sod Hashem Liraiav.
So maybe they knew WE would figure it out!!
(Charlie, we are joking)May 11, 2014 4:19 pm at 4:19 pm #1014608
So maybe they knew WE would figure it out!!
But if it wasn’t true yet then you are saying that they knew something that wasn’t true. Vechozar Hadavar.May 11, 2014 8:39 pm at 8:39 pm #1014609May 11, 2014 9:12 pm at 9:12 pm #1014610all the names are registered alreadyParticipant
OOmis: you should see what the rambam says about Aristotle…May 11, 2014 9:17 pm at 9:17 pm #1014611ben_DavidParticipant
The real issue is…..was his conversion halachic?May 11, 2014 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm #1014614TRUEBTParticipant
In one word: No,
the goyim don’t say he converted. Here’s what we’ve got to go on:
Aristotle was reported by Chazal to have said: “I do not deny the revelation of the Jews, seeing that I am not acquainted with it; I am occupied with human knowledge only and not with divine” (Judah ha-Levi, “Cuzari,” iv. 13; v. 14).
” Of Aristotle himself Josephus has preserved (“Contra Apionem,” i. 22) a very interesting passage from the writings of Clearchus, the pupil of Aristotle, the authenticity of which is maintained by such authorities as Lobeck, Bernays, von Gutschmid (“Kleine Schriften,” iv. 578), and Theo. Reinach (“Textes d’Auteurs Grecs et Romains Relatifs au Judaisme,” 1895, pp. 10-12). This passage, prefaced by the remark of Josephus, is as follows:
FRAGMENT OF CLEARCHUS.
[Palestine]. These Jews are derived from the philosophers of India. In India the philosophers call themselves Kalani, and in Syria Jews, taking their name from the country they inhabit, which is Judea; the name of their capital is rather difficult to pronounce: they call it Jerusalem. Now this man, who had been the guest of many people, had come down from the highland to the seashore [Pergamus]. He was a Greek not only in language, but in soul; so much so that, when we happened to be in Asia in about the same places whither he came, he conversed with us and with other persons of learning in order to test our wisdom. And as he had had intercourse with a large number of sages, he imparted to us more knowledge of his own.”
In other words, Aristotle’s student, Clearchus, says that this Jewish philosopher was Greek “in soul”; or as we say nowadays “Soul Brothers”. This fragment is all that exists as far as goyische sources go. All it really proves is that Aristotle had (at least) one Jewish friend. “Being the guest of many people” (who were probably goyim) seems like a hint that this Jew didn’t keep kosher. Of course, it could be that being a guest didn’t involve eating, or maybe they got him kosher food.
The goyim believe the conversion of Aristotle to Judaism is an “urban legend”. My guess is that the claims were made in the middle ages in response to the Rambam and other Rabbanim praising Aristotle.
So where did the urban legend come from?
The following letter first appeared written in Hebrew. It does not appear to be a translation. The source does not say whether the original was written in Ancient Greek or Aramaic. Aristotle writing a letter to Alexander the Great in any other language is very problematic. It’s also very problematic to say that a Jew discovered this letter over a thousand years after it was written, translated it, and could never come up with the original. But here it is:
Aristotle: Born 384 -322 B.C.
Birth: Chalcidice, Greece. Death: Chalcis, Greece.
When the great philosopher Aristotle was old, he sent the following letter to his student, Alexander the Great:
All my life I delved into philosophy, to explain all natural phenomena in a logical manner. I wrote many books on these subjects. Finally, in the twilight of my life, I had the opportunity to engage in a conversation with a Jewish sage. It did not take me long, to recognize his great wisdom; and he led me to understand, how great is the Torah, that was given on Mount Sinai.
He taught me the inner depth of the Torah, providing me with many brilliant insights based on its teachings. I realized how foolish I had been for not realizing, how G-d can manipulate the laws of nature; and that much of what happens in the world, is directed by G-d.
Realizing all this, I decided to devote myself to exploring the wisdom of the Torah. It did not take me long to realize, that the Torah is based on true foundations, while the axioms of philosophy are purely arbitrary.
Therefore, my dear student Alexander, if I had the power to collect all the books I have written, I would burn them. I would be embarrassed for any of them to survive. However, I realize that I do not have this power; my books have already been published, and have spread all over the world. I also realize, that I will receive Divine punishment, for having written such misleading books.
Therefore, my son, Alexander, I am writing this letter to tell you, that the great majority of my theories regarding natural law, are false. While nature does exist, G-d is the Lord of the universe, and He directs all things as He sees fit. I am telling everyone openly, that they should not waste time with my books. They should not look at them, or even touch them with their hands. It is sinful to waste time, on the false theories that I have espoused.
I feel, that I have saved my soul by admitting my error; I hope that I will not be held guilty for the past, since I acted out of ignorance. But now I have revealed to the public that I was mistaken, and that my heart aches for the time I have wasted, on my foolish theories. Those who waste time on my books therefore, will deserve to be punished.
The Jewish scholar with whom I spoke, showed me the book of Proverbs (Mishley), written by King Solomon, one of the greatest geniuses of all times. The scholar showed me, that in many places, King Solomon warned against wasting time on philosophical speculation.
I feel sorry for my eyes for what they have seen, and my ears for what they have heard. I feel sorry for my body, for wasting its strength on such detrimental studies.
I know that you praise me, and tell me, that I am famous all over the world because of the books I have written. People speak very highly of me. But I wish I were dead, because of the misleading books that I have spread all over the world.
People who devote themselves to the Torah, will earn eternal life; while those who devote themselves to my books, will earn the grave. But I am prepared to accept upon myself, the punishment of them all.
I did not write to you earlier, because I was afraid that you would be angry with me, and perhaps even harm me. But now, I have made up my mind to tell you the truth. I know, that by the time you receive this letter, I will already be dead and buried, because I realize that my end is near.
Gedaliah ibn Ya?yah, Shalshelet ha-?abbala, ed. Warsaw, 1889, pp. 139, 140, under the heading of ?akme Yawan;
“The value of this work is, however, lessened considerably by the fact that the writer has included many oral narratives which he gathered partly in his home, partly in Salonica and Alexandria, and that he often lacks the ability to distinguish truth from fiction. For these reasons the book has been called “The Chain of Lies”; but Loeb has proved that it is more accurate than many have supposed it to be. The Shalshelet ha-?abbalah was published at Venice, 1587; Cracow, 1596; Amsterdam, 1697; Zolkiev, 1802, 1804; Polonnoye, 1814; and Lemberg, 1862.”May 12, 2014 3:16 am at 3:16 am #1014615
The Medrash mentions travels of Bnei Yerushalayim to Athens. Rebbi Yehoshua famously debated the Greek scholars, but he wasn’t in the time of Aristotle or his desciples.
Is there any Mekor that Dawkins converted and is now in Aish Hatorah?May 12, 2014 5:07 am at 5:07 am #1014616May 12, 2014 4:01 pm at 4:01 pm #1014617
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