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 rationalism?
 Rationalism is the attitude in which religious faith has to justify itself at the bar of reason before it can be accepted.
 Rationalism is the attitude that logic is at the base of all of Godís actions.
 Rationalism is the attitude in which rational actions are examined and proved to be ultimately hypocritical.
 Rationalism is the intensely personal philosophy in which the individual responds not to a philosophical system, which she surveys from the outside, but to what is true for her.


Question 2. Saadiah Gaon wrote a translation of the Bible in what language?


Question 3. How does Judah Halevi distinguish the Jewish revelation story from Islam and Christianity's stories of revelation?
 Judaism doesn't believe in a literal revelation
 Judaism's revelation was on a mountain
 Judaism's was revealed to 600,000 people and not one person
 None of the above


Question 4. Which Jewish philosopher was sometimes known as the rabbi of Theresienstadt?
 Martin Buber
 Abraham Joshua Heschel
 Menachem Mendel Schneerson
 Leo Baeck


Question 5. Which of these groups was NOT labeled heretic?
 The Karaites
 The Sephardic Jews in North Africa
 The Mitnagdim
 The Hasidim


Question 6. Gersonides was not
 A talmudist
 A doctor
 A philosopher
 An astronomer


Question 7. Which of the following philosophers was about to convert to Christianity, but decided to attend synagogue before he left Judaism, and was so inspired by the Yom Kippur service he attended, that he ultimately became a strong advocate of Judaism for Jews, and Christianity for Christians?
 Hermann Cohen
 Franz Rosenzweig
 E.E. Dessler
 Martin Buber


Question 8. True or false: Aristotle is never mentioned in the Talmud.


Question 9. 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


Question 10. Which Jewish philosopher wrote The Lonely Man of Faith?
 Rabbi Moshe Feinstein
 Isaac Abrabanel
 Rabbi Joseph Caro
 Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik