Second-Order Thinking in the Hebrew Bible


Following 19th-century distinctions between Hellenism and Hebraism, many popular 20th-century histories of Western philosophy assigned the intellectual world of the Hebrew Bible to a twilight zone between late mythological and early philosophical ways of thinking. Partly in response to this, research in Semitic languages during that time began to include comparative-linguistic arguments hoping to demonstrate radical structural incommensurability between Hebrew and Greek ways of thinking. In the latest trend in the associated research, a multidisciplinary dialogue has been initiated on the subject of ” second-order thinking ” within the ancient Near East ” before ” or ” outside ” Greek philosophy. In this article, the author aims to contribute to the ongoing discussion by suggesting that Biblical Hebrew as religious language already presupposes an intricate variety of transposed second-order thinking.

Jaco Gericke, “‘My Thoughts Are (Not) Your Thoughts.‘ Transposed Second-Order Thinking in the Hebrew Bible,” Journal for Semitics 27, no. 1 (2018).

Dr. Gericke is Associate Research Professor of Theology and Philosophy at North-West University, South Africa. He is the author of What is a God?: Philosophical Perspectives on Divine Essence in the Hebrew Bible (Bloomsbury) and The Hebrew Bible and Philosophy of Religion (SBL Press).

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