My Jewish Learning

Free Will Quiz

The paradox of human free will and God's infinite knowledge and power has troubled Jewish thinkers at every point in Jewish history. How much do you know about this debate?



Question 1. Who believed that free will doesn't really exist, but human beings need to believe it does?
 Ludwig Wittgenstein
 Yeshayahu Leibowitz
 Josephus
 Maimonides

 

Question 2. True or false: In antiquity, the different sects in Israel (Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes) all agreed about fate and determinism.
 True
 False

 

Question 3. Which Jewish philosopher suggested that God knows the options from which we will choose, but doesn’t know the specific choice we will make?
 Philo
 Saadiah Gaon
 Gersonides
 Moses Mendelsohn

 

Question 4. What did the Hasidic Izbicer Rebbe teach about free will?
 Humans do not have the ability to choose their actions
 God is the source of all human actions
 Humans can control their thoughts and intentions
 All of these
 None of these

 

Question 5. True or false: Jewish tradition assumes that humans’ actions are significant in the greater scheme of things.
 True
 False

 

Question 6. True or false: The Bible has examples of God announcing predetermined events and interfering with individual choices.
 True
 False

 

Question 7. Elliot Dorff, a Conservative rabbi and theologian, has used arguments about genetic predeterminism and free will to respond to what issue?
 Poverty
 Rights for Homosexuals
 Kashrut
 Freedom of speech