Intellectuals rarely make a significant impact on one field of scholarship let alone several, yet Amos Funkenstein (1937-1995) displayed an intellectual range that encompassed several disciplines and broke new ground across seemingly impenetrable scholarly boundaries. The philosophy of history from antiquity to modernity, medieval and early modern history of science, medieval scholasticism, Jewish history in all of its periods - these are all areas in which he made lasting contributions.Thinking Impossibilitiesbrings together Funkenstein's colleagues, friends, and former students to engage with important aspects of his intellectual legacy.
Funkenstein's diverse interests were bound together by common figures of thought, especially the search for pre-modern intellectual groundings of modern ideas and how the seeming 'impossibilities' of one historical moment might become positive resources of conceptual construction and development in another. The essays in this volume take up major themes in European intellectual history, and examine them through the unique lens that Funkenstein himself employed during his career. Of particular interest are ways in which topics of Jewish history are engaged with the larger field of the history of ideas in the West. Richly interdisciplinary and full of fresh insights,Thinking Impossibilitiesis a fitting tribute to an important twentieth-century scholar.