Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Chanukah: Chachma Yevanis

A Post for Chanukah, not about Kiddushin.

Chazal tell us that it is prohibited to learn chachma yevanis. The only question is, what is this chachma yevanis which is asur? It is unlikely that this means Greek philospohy, for the Rambam quotyes Aristotle extensively in Moreh Nevuchim. It is most likely (see R. Yehudah (Leo) Levi, Torah Study: A Survey of Classic Sources on Timely Issues (Jerusalem: Feldheim Publishers, 1990), pp. 263-4) a code, a mathematical code such as those used in crypotography in computers (and espionage). When I took number theory in college, we skipped that chapter, but it is interesting and results from the Greek mathemeticians study into number theory.


The Talmid said...

Yesodei Hatorah 3:5 that many chachmei yavan wrote about planetary motion. Still, he does not call it "chachma yevanis."

The Talmid said...

See Mishna Sotah 9:14, Gemara 49b