My Jewish Learning

Thinkers & Thought Quiz

A wide cast of intellectuals devoted their lives to defining what Judaism meant to them, and what it should mean to others. How much do you know about these thinkers and their philosophies?

Question 1. What is syncretism?
 A unanimous decision in the Talmud
 A tradition that is accepted both by Ashkenazic and Sephardic rabbis
 A negative commandment
 None of the above


Question 2. Gersonides was not
 A talmudist
 A doctor
 A philosopher
 An astronomer


Question 3. Which of these Jewish thinkers lived most recently?
 A.J. Heschel
 Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson


Question 4. Solomon Ibn Adret is more commonly known as
 Saadiah Gaon


Question 5. Which Jewish philosopher wrote The Lonely Man of Faith?
 Rabbi Moshe Feinstein
 Isaac Abrabanel
 Rabbi Joseph Caro
 Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik


Question 6. Who wrote Wars of the Lord?


Question 7. A main goal of medieval Jewish thinkers was to reconcile Jewish thought with what philosophy?


Question 8. Judah Haleviís Kuzari is the story of
 The king of the Khazars who is considering a conversion to Judaism
 A man from a town called Kuzar who has to decide whether to accept or reject written Jewish law
 A poet living in a cave in Safed who has visions of angels
 The history of the city of Jerusalem, as told by the prophet Elijah


Question 9. In religious existentialism the believer adopts monotheism because
 He has seen absolute proof of a single God
 Through a leap of faith
 He understands that he is just a speck in the vastness of the universe
 He has been told to at Sunday school


Question 10. Which of these statements about Jewish philosophy is true?
 There is not a lot of debate; most issues are very straightforward and authorities are unified
 It has historically been more important than Jewish practice (halakhah)
 Throughout history, it developed in dialogue with surrounding cultures
 Though there is a lot of debate, all agree that the ultimate reward awaits in the World to Come