Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Secular Knowledge Comes from the Torah

From the book “Mind over Matter”
By Dr. Arnie Gotfryd and Professor Herman Branover

Heading: Plato, Socrates, the Greeks, the Romans, The Sciences…
Page 156, footnote 279:
"Plato, received wisdom from the prophets.
Socrates, studied from the Jewish sages, Achitofel and Assaf HaKarchi.”

(From the Sefer (book) “Seder HaDorot”
By Rabbi Yechiel Halperin, the Rabbi of Minsk, about 250 years ago.
The Jewish year 3385:)

(This is brought also in Torat HaOlah, by the Rema, vol. 1, chapter 11.
This topic is referenced, in Sefer HaSichot 5701, p. 67, footnotes.)
(3442: In the Kuzari manuscript, beginning of Ma’amar Bet, it is written):

The works of the philosophers, have roots and foundations in the wisdom taught by the Jews to the Casdeans; who passed it on to the Persians and Medeans; from there to the Greeks; and only then to the Romans.

With the passage of time, the Jewish roots were no longer mentioned or remembered, and it was attributed only to the Greeks and Romans….”

[See Kuzari Ma’amar B, 20, where he uses the expression “knowledge thieves.”]
In Shevilei Emunah [by Rabbi Meir Aldebi, a student of the Rosh] it is related:

“When Alexander [the Great] went to Jerusalem, he gave his teacher Aristotle control over King Shlomo’s (Solomon) books. Aristotle plagiarized his philosophies from there, and called them by his own name…”

[In Sheva HaChachmot by Dov Rafel, Jerusalem, 5750, chapter 3, he cites many sources, both Jewish and non-Jewish, which mention these traditions.]
Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi explains in his Kuzari, that Adam — who attained the ultimate intellectual prowess, as a result of being created and formed directly by G-d Himself — was also the first true scholar.

From him, the wisdom and knowledge were passed down to Noah, who passed it on to his descendants; and ultimately to Avraham.

Since all of these generations lived in Babylonia, wisdom first became known and public amongst the Babylonians. From there it eventually spread to the Persians and Medeans; and from there to the Greeks; as discussed above.

(Ma’amar Bet, 66. cf. Ma’amar Alef, 63.)
Rambam in his “Guide to the Perplexed” (vol. 1, chapter 71, Kapach ed.) writes in a similar vein:

“Know, that the many sciences that existed in our nation… were lost over time; and because of the reign of foolish nations over us…”
In vol. 2, chapter 11: “Our nation is a wise and complete nation, as G-d declares in the Torah (Devarim, 4:6): “Surely, a wise and discerning people, is this great nation.”

It is only, that the evil ones, from the foolish nations, ended our good: they destroyed our knowledge and our books, and our scholars were lost…

(See also the commentary of the Abarbanel to Bereishit, 10:1.)