||Hebrew translation of the sixth and seventh questions in Thomas Aquinas’s Quaestiones disputatae de animae, a major theological work on the nature of the soul The title page, in Hebrew and Latin, is followed by the twenty-one questions comprising Quaestiones disputatae de animae, the translator’s introduction, and the text, in Hebrew in a single column in square letters. Questions six and seven, which the book deals with are respectively, Vtrum anima sit composita ex materia et forma and Vtrum angelus et anima differant specie, that is on the composition of the soul, material or form and whether angels and souls are of different species.
Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) is the most important of the Christian medieval philosophers. Born near Aquino, the son of a count, Aquinas entered a Dominican order at the age of 19 against the will of his family. He studied under the Dominican scholar Albertus Magnus in Cologne and Paris, where he later taught; from 1272 he taught in Naples. His main work, the Summa theologica (ST), was designed as an introduction to all problems of doctrine and morals that a friar might meet in his studies for pastoral duties. It shows an intimate knowledge of the works of Jewish philosophers, particularly of Avicebron (Ibn Gabirol) and Maimonides. Most of the proofs he adduced for the existence of God may be traced to Jewish sources. A similar systematic exposition, this one addressed to the non-Christian, is contained in his Summa contra gentiles (SCG, 1259–64). Aquinas often expressed his opinion about what should be the Christian attitude toward the Jews. In about 1270–71 he wrote a detailed reply, constituting the small treatise De regimine Judaeorum (cf. the different editions in E. Gilson, Christian Philosophy … , 422), to a series of questions posed by a duchess of Brabant (probably Margaret, daughter of Louis IX and wife of Jean I of Brabant). These ask whether it is lawful for a Christian prince to exact money from the Jews by means of taxes and fines since this money was the result of usury. Aquinas answered: "It is true, as the Law declares, that Jews in consequence of their sin, are or were destined to perpetual slavery: so that sovereigns of states may treat their goods as their own property, with the sole proviso that they do not deprive them of all that is necessary to sustain life." He did not, however, recommend imposing an overly harsh fiscal policy on the Jews. In addition, since "the Jews in your country appear to possess nothing but what they have acquired by the evil practice of usury," Aquinas advised returning the money to its true owners, the injured Christian borrowers. If these could not be traced, it might be spent on acts of piety or works in the general interest. In Aquinas' view it was preferable "to compel the Jews to work for their living, as is done in parts of Italy, rather than that they should live in idleness and grow rich by usury." They should also be compelled to wear a distinguishing badge that would make them clearly recognizable from Christians.
Maimonides has a recognized place among those whose doctrines Aquinas draws on; all attempts to camouflage Maimonides' doctrines, such as the attempts of William of Auvergne and Alexander of Hales, have been put aside. "Rabbi Moyses" (Maimonides) appears as a master who has brought together the voluntarism of biblical theology and the Aristotelian theories on the cosmogonic process. Aquinas seems to have been influenced by Maimonides in his account of the relation of faith and reason (SCG, 1:4) and in his proofs of the existence of God (ST, I, qu. 2., a. 3), and he accepts the proposition of Maimonides that the temporal creation of the world cannot be demonstrated or refuted by philosophical argument, but only on the basis of revealed text (ST, I, qu. 46, a. 2). On the other hand, Aquinas opposes Rabbi Moyses' radical denial of all divine attributes, by which humans attempt to explain God's being from their experience in the created world. For Aquinas, analogy remains a means of theological approach to the secrets of divinity (ST, I, qu. 13, 2). Parts of Aquinas' works were translated into Hebrew and some of his views influenced late medieval Jewish philosophers, such as Hillel of Verona. Aquinas shares the usual ecclesiastical view that the Old Testament is a preparatory stage of revelation. The Mosaic legislation, however, aroused his special interest; it was a source of a type of concrete solution not offered by the New Testament (ST, I–II, qu. 108, a. 2, ad 3). He understood the Sinaitic order of society as a constitution perfectly designed for the preservation of the Hebrew people under given circumstances. For this rationalization he used concepts from Aristotle's Politics, which had just been translated from the Greek. Aquinas was also very much stimulated in this task by Maimonides' reflection on the meaning of mishpatim (general moral laws); the Latin translation of this term, praescripta iudicialia, defined for him all biblical rules that he considered politically or socially relevant. Thus, Aquinas found in the Sinaitic legislation on agrarian property a realization of the Aristotelian theory that private ownership must be justified by responsibility for social cohesion (ST, I–II, qu. 105, a. 2 ad 3). For Aquinas this model constitution was created by divine providence; its appreciation as a product of the Hebrew mind was, of course, quite outside his consideration. Treaties and extracts from the works of Aquinas were translated into Hebrew, notably by Judah Romano, Eli Habillo, Abraham Nehemiah b. Joseph, and others. Isaac Abrabanel, who apparently intended to translate one of Aquinas' works, was well ac