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


Question 2. True or false: At his famous show-down with Ahab on Mount Carmel, the prophet Elijah insinuates that God purposely led the hearts of the sinning Israelites astray.


Question 3. True or false: In antiquity, the different sects in Israel (Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes) all agreed about fate and determinism.


Question 4. Which of these problems concerned medieval philosophers?
 How to reconcile free will and divine providence
 How to reconcile free will and divine foreknowledge
 How to ensure that human beings experience the feeling of freedom
 A & B only
 All of the above


Question 5. What does the Apocryphal writer Ben Sira believe about predetermination?
 That God has predetermined human character from birth
 That humanity is divided into two antithetical groups, the godly and the sinners
 That human beings are free to choose their individual life paths and must not blame God for their transgressions
 All of these
 None of these


Question 6. Which modern thinker believed that the goal of a human's development is freedom and independence?
 Martin Buber
 Abraham Joshua Heschel
 Rachel Adler
 Erich Fromm


Question 7. Which Jewish philosopher comes closest to asserting that humans do not have free will?
 Hasdai Crescas
 Isaac Luria
 Joseph Soloveitchik
 Judah Halevi