The works of Philo of Alexandria were not known directly to the rabbis of the Talmud, or to the medievals, though he was know to the Christian church.
Philosophical activity continued in Asia and Africa. Major centres: Alexandria (Egypt) and Antioch (Syria), Edessa (Mesopotamia). In Syria, philosophy was incorporated into religious curriculum. Major works were translated into Syriac.
Caliphs commissioned translations (usually from Syriac) of Greek scientific and philosophical literature.
The medieval versions of Greek philosophical texts were often different from the originals, because of:
Though the movement was displaced by Aristotelianism, many of its themes continued to exert an influence in the guise of Kabbalah.
Philosophy grounded in scientific observation interpreted through logic.
Perception of world as combination of matter and form. Normally the two cannot exist independently of one another.
The universe as sequence of concentric spheres with our world at the beginning. Between the outermost sphere (home of the fixed stars) and our world is a series of "separate intelligences [i.e., consisting of form without matter]" identified with the sun, moon and planets (all of which were believed to orbit around our world).
Aristotle believed that the universe was eternal, a doctrine that conflicted with the traditional Jewish belief in creation in time out "ex nihilo."
The lowest of the Separate Intelligences is identified by the moon. Our "sublunar" world is that of matter, made up of the four elements (air, fire, water, earth).
Ethical Implications Human perfection is achieved through philosophy; i.e., by contemplating abstract ideas, the most sublime of which is God. For Jewish Aristotelians, the Torah was understood to be the most effective way of achieving this perfection, by laying the groundwork for a peaceful society, by teaching us to discipline our physical apetities, and by instilling a spiritual understanding of God.
Medieval Aristotelians believed that those few who succeeded in purifying their intellects will be able to link in with the lowest of the Separate Intelligences, designated the "Active Intellect." At this point, the human "Potential Intellect" becomes transformed into the "Acquired Intellect," which some thinkers equated with the religious concept of the afterlife and/or with prophetic revelation.
The dominant figure in Jewish Aristotelianism was Moses Maimonides. His philosophical system, as found especially in his Guide of the Perplexed, became the standard statement of medieval Jewish rationalism, and most subsequent philosophical works were either commentaries or criticisms of Maimonides' system.