Maimonides was the greatest Jewish philosopher and legal scholar of the medieval period, a towering figure who has had a profound and lasting influence on Jewish law, philosophy, and religious consciousness. This book provides a comprehensive and accessible introduction to his life and work, revealing how his philosophical sensibility and outlook informed his interpretation of Jewish tradition.Read more...
Maimonides was the greatest Jewish philosopher and legal scholar of the medieval period, a towering figure who has had a profound and lasting influence on Jewish law, philosophy, and religious consciousness. This book provides a comprehensive and accessible introduction to his life and work, revealing how his philosophical sensibility and outlook informed his interpretation of Jewish tradition.
Moshe Halbertal vividly describes Maimonides's childhood in Muslim Spain, his family's flight to North Africa to escape persecution, and their eventual resettling in Egypt. He draws on Maimonides's letters and the testimonies of his contemporaries, both Muslims and Jews, to offer new insights into his personality and the circumstances that shaped his thinking. Halbertal then turns to Maimonides's legal and philosophical work, analyzing his three great books--Commentary on the Mishnah, the Mishneh Torah, and the Guide of the Perplexed. He discusses Maimonides's battle against all attempts to personify God, his conviction that God's presence in the world is mediated through the natural order rather than through miracles, and his locating of philosophy and science at the summit of the religious life of Torah. Halbertal examines Maimonides's philosophical positions on fundamental questions such as the nature and limits of religious language, creation and nature, prophecy, providence, the problem of evil, and the meaning of the commandments.
A stunning achievement, Maimonides offers an unparalleled look at the life and thought of this important Jewish philosopher, scholar, and theologian.
- ISBN-13: 9780691158518
- ISBN-10: 0691158517
- Publisher: Princeton University Press
- Publish Date: November 2013
- Page Count: 400
- Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-11-11
- Reviewer: Staff
Maimonides, also known in Hebrew as Rambam, was a great Jewish philosopher and physician. Born in Andalusia, Spain, in 1138, he was forced to flee after the intolerant Almohad dynasty gained power. After years of wandering in North Africa, he finally reached Egypt in 1166, where he became a leader of the Egyptian Jewish community until his death in 1204. Many commentators have written about Maimonides’s contributions, especially about his work on Jewish law. This new book adds the ideas of author Halbertal, a philosopher who teaches at Hebrew University and New York University, to scholarly understanding of Maimonides. His work, originally in Hebrew, is difficult to follow. Readers need to be well-versed in Jewish philosophy and the writings of Maimonides to comprehend Halbertal’s analysis. Many others, some cited in a lengthy bibliography organized by chapters, have written clearer analyses of Maimonides’s contributions. This is a book that will be useful only for those who are well-versed in Jewish philosophy and especially in the books written by Maimonides. (Dec.)