Hasdai Crescas

Philosopher who defended Judaism against Christianity.

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Defining Attributes

Crescas differs from Maimonides on the question of the divine attributes. According to Maimonides' doctrine of negative attributes, to say that God is good or wise does not mean that His nature can be described in any positive way. The attributes of God found in Scripture are to be understood only as negating their opposite. When it is said that God is good, this refers solely to His actions, which, if performed by a human being, would be said to be good. When it is said that God is wise, the meaning is that He is not ignorant. Crescas disagrees.

For Crescas, the divine attributes are to be understood in a positive sense. God really is good and wise. Such an idea does not compromise the doctrine of the divine unity, since multiple qualities do not imply a compound subject if these qualities are interconnected.

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