Maimonides on Judaism and the Jewish People

Weiss and Butterworth, Maimonides, p. 31. Compare “Eight Chapters,” fourth chapter, Weiss and Butterworth, Maimonides, pp. 68—69. Chapter 4 1. In a number of places Maimonides clearly defines “human perfection” in terms of intellectual ...

Maimonides on Judaism and the Jewish People

Maimonides on Judaism and the Jewish People explores Maimonides’ philosophical psychology, his ethics, his views on prophecy, providence, and immortality, his understanding of the place of gentiles in the Messianic area, his attitude toward proselytes, his answer to the question, “Who is a Jew?”, his conception of the nature of Torah, and his arguments concerning the nature of the Chosen People. With respect to each of these issues, Kellner shows that Maimonides adopted positions that reflected his emphasis on nurture over nature and his insistence that it is intellectual perfection and not ethnic affiliation which is crucial.

The Perfectibility of Human Nature in Eastern and Western Thought

49 Maimonides understands human perfection to be a complex combination of contemplative life and a life of socially oriented activity. In his book Maimonides'Political Thought, Howard Kreisel carefully explores this understanding.50 ...

The Perfectibility of Human Nature in Eastern and Western Thought

Explores the issue of the perfectibility of nature in philosophy, psychology, and a variety of world religions.

Kabbalah

Maimonides Maimonides understood prophecy to stand at the pinnacle of human devel- opment , and he saw it as the fulfillment of human existence . Ascending the ladder of development toward human perfection served , for Maimonides ...

Kabbalah

Byron Sherwin's book is a primer for course-work and for those seeking to understand Jewish mysticism on its own terms, Kabbalah provides a comprehensive, accessible introduction to Jewish mysticism, organized around five models of Jewish mystical theology and experience: Normal Mysticism, Mystical Intimacy, Addressing God's Needs, Drawing Down Divine Grace, and Prophetic Kabbalah. Sherwin's Kabbalah: An Introduction to Jewish Mysticism is a scholarly, yet accessible work that includes primary texts in translation.

The High Ways to Perfection

The High Ways to Perfection


Jewish Messianism and the History of Philosophy

of the intellect in the description of the human telos in Maimonides. Is human perfection intellectual perfection, or moral perfection? Given the equivalence that Maimonides draws between intellect and act, I am puzzled as to why this ...

Jewish Messianism and the History of Philosophy

Jewish Messianism and the History of Philosophy contests the ancient opposition between Athens and Jerusalem by retrieving the concept of meontology - the doctrine of nonbeing - from the Jewish philosophical and theological tradition. For Emmanuel Levinas, as well as for Franz Rosenzweig, Hermann Cohen and Moses Maimonides, the Greek concept of nonbeing (understood as both lack and possibility) clarifies the meaning of Jewish life. These thinkers of 'Jerusalem' use 'Athens' for Jewish ends, justifying Jewish anticipation of a future messianic era as well as portraying the subjects intellectual and ethical acts as central in accomplishing redemption. This book envisions Jewish thought as an expression of the intimate relationship between Athens and Jerusalem. It also offers new readings of important figures in contemporary Continental philosophy, critiquing previous arguments about the role of lived religion in the thought of Jacques Derrida, the role of Plato in the thought of Emmanuel Levinas and the centrality of ethics in the thought of Franz Rosenzweig.

The Quest for God and the Good

For the idea that the highest human ideal is the overflow or expression of rational perfection, see Guide 2.11; Warren Zev Harvey, “Maimonides on Human Perfection, Awe, and Politics,” 9–10; see also “Political Philosophy and Halakhah in ...

The Quest for God and the Good

Diana Lobel takes readers on a journey across Eastern and Western philosophical and religious traditions to discover a beauty and purpose at the heart of reality that makes life worth living. Guided by the ideas of ancient thinkers and the insight of the philosophical historian Pierre Hadot, The Quest for God and the Good treats philosophy not as an abstract, theoretical discipline, but as a living experience. For centuries, human beings have struggled to know why we are here, whether a higher being or dimension exists, and whether our existence is fundamentally good. Above all, we want to know whether the search for God and the good will bring happiness. Following in the path of the ancient philosophers, Lobel directly connects conceptions of God or an Absolute with notions of the good, illuminating diverse classical texts and thinkers. She explores the Bible and the work of Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Maimonides, al-Farabi, and al-Ghazali. She reads the Tao Te Ching, I Ching, Bhagavad Gita, and Upanishads, as well as the texts of Theravada, Mahayana, and Zen Buddhism, and traces the repercussions of these works in the modern thought of Alfred North Whitehead, Iris Murdoch, Alasdair MacIntyre, and Charles Taylor. While each of these texts and thinkers sets forth a distinct and unique vision, all maintain that human beings find fulfillment in their contact with beauty and purpose. Rather than arriving at one universal definition of God or the good, Lobel demonstrates the aesthetic value of multiple visions presented by many thinkers across cultures. The Quest for God and the Good sets forth a path of investigation and discovery culminating in intellectual and spiritual communion.

Exile and Otherness

Does human perfection testify to moral perfection? We recall that an outcome of being embraced by Amida, a human becomes perfected by Amida's perfection. How does it compare to Maimonides' view on human perfection? In GP III: 27, ...

Exile and Otherness

In Exile and Otherness: The Ethics of Shinran and Maimonides, Ilana Maymind argues that Shinran (1173–1263), the founder of True Pure Land Buddhism (Jodo Shinshu), and Maimonides (1138–1204), a Jewish philosopher, Torah scholar, and physician, were both deeply affected by their conditions of exile as shown in the construction of their ethics. By juxtaposing the exilic experiences of two contemporaries who are geographically and culturally separated and yet share some of the same concerns, this book expands the boundaries of Shin Buddhist studies and Jewish studies. It demonstrates that the integration into a new environment for Shinran and the creative mixture of cultures for Maimonides allowed them to view certain issues from the position of empathic outsiders. Maymind demonstrates that the biographical experiences of these two thinkers who exhibit sensitivity to the neglected and suffering others, resonate with conditions of exile and diasporic living in pluralistic societies that define the lives of many individuals, communities, and societies in the twenty-first century.

Maimonides on the Decline of the Generations and the Nature of Rabbinic Authority

The equality presented here is not equality of halakhic authority, but equality of ability, of essential human characteristics.

Maimonides on the  Decline of the Generations  and the Nature of Rabbinic Authority

Moses Maimonides, medieval Judaism's leading legist and philosopher, and a figure of central importance for contemporary Jewish self-understanding, held a view of Judaism which maintained the authority of the Talmudic rabbis in matters of Jewish law while allowing for free and open inquiry in matters of science and philosophy. Maimonides affirmed, not the superiority of the "moderns" (the scholars of his and subsequent generations) over the "ancients" (the Tannaim and Amoraim, the Rabbis of the Mishnah and Talmud) but the inherent equality of the two. The equality presented here is not equality of halakhic authority, but equality of ability, of essential human characteristics. In order to substantiate these claims, Kellner explores the related idea that Maimonides does not adopt the notion of "the decline of the generations," according to which each succeeding generation, or each succeeding epoch, is in some significant and religiously relevant sense inferior to preceding generations or epochs.

Humanity Divided

In a compelling essay, entitled “Maimonides' 'True Religion': For Jews or All Humanity,” Menachem Kellner observes that according to ... In consequence of this definition, he is locked into a view of human perfection as intellectual.

Humanity Divided

With exacting scholarship and fecund analysis, Manuel Oliveira probes through the lens of Martin Buber (1878-1965) the theological and political ambiguities of Israel’s divine election. These ambiguities became especially pronounced with the emergence of Zionism. Wary, indeed, alarmed by the tendency of some of his fellow Zionists to conflate divine chosenness with nationalism, Buber sought to secure the theological significance of election by both steering Zionism from hypertrophic nationalism and by a sustained program to revalorize what he called alternately “Hebrew Humanism.” As Oliveira demonstrates, Buber viewed the idea of election teleologically, espousing a universal mission of Israel, which effectively calls upon Zionism to align its political and cultural project to universal objectives. Thus, in addressing a Zionist congress, he rhetorically asked, “What then is this spirit of Israel of which you are speaking? It is the spirit of fulfillment. Fulfillment of what? Fulfillment of the simple truth that man has been created for a purpose (...) Our purpose is the upbuilding of peace (...) And that is its spirit, the spirit of Israel (...) the people of Israel was charged to lead the way to righteousness and justice.”

Joseph Albo on Free Choice

Albo rejects Aristotle's and Maimonides' conclusion that human perfection is defined in intellectual terms, since, he argues, such perfection would not be attainable by the majority of humanity, whose lives would then be in vain.

Joseph Albo on Free Choice

Scripture is replete with narratives that challenge a variety of philosophical concepts; including morality, divine benevolence, and human freedom. Free choice, a significant and much debated concept in medieval philosophy, continues to be of great interest to contemporary philosophers and others. However, scholarship in biblical studies has primarily focused on compositional history, philology, and literary analysis, not on the examination of the philosophy implied in biblical texts. In this book, Shira Weiss focuses on the Hebrew Bible's encounter with the philosophical notion of free choice, as interpreted by the fifteenth-century Spanish Jewish philosopher Joseph Albo in one of the most popular Hebrew works in the corpus of medieval Jewish philosophy: Albo's Examining narratives commonly interpreted as challenging human freedom--the Binding of Isaac, the Hardening of Pharaoh's Heart, the Book of Job, and God's Choice of Israel--Albo puts forward innovative arguments that preserve the concept of free choice in these texts. Despite the popularity of The Book of Principles, Albo has been commonly dismissed as an unoriginal thinker. As a result, argues Weiss, the major original contribution of his philosophy-his theory of free choice as explained in unique exegetical interpretations-has been overlooked. This book casts new light on Albo by demonstrating both the central importance of his views on free choice in his philosophy and the creative ways in which they are presented.

The Jewish Intellectual Tradition

These basic types of perfection were believed to give meaning and purpose to human existence—they are the goals toward which most human efforts are directed. Maimonides names four such perfections, and he ranks them in accordance with ...

The Jewish Intellectual Tradition

The Jewish intellectual tradition has a long and complex history that has resulted in significant and influential works of scholarship. In this book, the authors suggest that there is a series of common principles that can be extracted from the Jewish intellectual tradition that have broad, even life-changing, implications for individual and societal achievement. These principles include respect for tradition while encouraging independent, often disruptive thinking; a precise system of logical reasoning in pursuit of the truth; universal education continuing through adulthood; and living a purposeful life. The main objective of this book is to understand the historical development of these principles and to demonstrate how applying them judiciously can lead to greater intellectual productivity, a more fulfilling existence, and a more advanced society.

The Book of Job in Jewish Life and Thought

For Maimonides, true human perfection consists in the acquisition of the rational virtues – I refer to the conception of intelligibles, which teach true opinions concerning the divine things. This is in true reality the ultimate end; ...

The Book of Job in Jewish Life and Thought

Despite its general absence from the Jewish liturgical cycle and its limited place in Jewish practice, the Book of Job has permeated Jewish culture over the last 2,000 years. Job has not only had to endure the suffering described in the biblical book, but the efforts of countless commentators, interpreters, and creative rewriters whose explanations more often than not challenged the protagonist's righteousness in order to preserve Divine justice. Beginning with five critical essays on the specific efforts of ancient, medieval, and modern Jewish writers to make sense of the biblical book, this volume concludes with a detailed survey of the place of Job in the Talmud and Midrashic corpus, in medieval biblical commentary, in ethical, mystical, and philosophical tracts, as well as in poetry and creative writing in a wide variety of Jewish languages from around the world from the second to sixteenth centuries.

Edinburgh Critical History of Middle Ages and Renaissance Philosophy

(Maimonides 1963: 369) In the subsequent chapters of the Guide, Maimonides goes on to catalogue three classes of human perfection in terms of relationships between the imaginative faculty and the intellectual virtues.

Edinburgh Critical History of Middle Ages and Renaissance Philosophy

A team of leading international scholars examine Middle Ages and Renaissance philosophy from the perspective of themes and lines of thought that cut across authors, disciplines and national boundaries, opening up new ways to conceptualise the history of this period within philosophy, politics, religious studies and literature.

Spinoza s Revelation

28 To be sure, for Maimonides human beings do not know the content of the loss, i.e., they have lost access to the ... The conceptual difficulties involved in this passage (from perfection to imperfection) – and exactly what it means to ...

Spinoza s Revelation

Nancy Levene reinterprets a major early modern philosopher, Benedict de Spinoza - a Jew who was rejected by the Jewish community of his day but whose thought contains, and critiques, both Jewish and Christian ideas. It foregrounds the connection of religion, democracy, and reason, showing that Spinoza's theories of the Bible, the theologico-political, and the philosophical all involve the concepts of equality and sovereignty. Professor Levene argues that Spinoza's concept of revelation is the key to this connection, and above all to Spinoza's view of human power. This is to shift the emphasis in Spinoza's thought from the language of amor Dei (love of God) to the language of libertas humana (human freedom) without losing either the dialectic of his most striking claim - that man is God to man - or the Jewish and Christian elements in his thought. Original and thoughtfully argued, this book offers fresh insights into Spinoza's thought.

Abraham Abulafia s Esotericism

51 The concepts of these two perfections or amendments can be found in Maimonides's Guide of the Perplexed, 3:27, ... of the Law according to Maimonides,” JQR 67 (1978): 27–51; Warren Zev →Harvey, “Maimonides on Human Perfection, Awe, ...

Abraham Abulafia   s Esotericism

This book focuses on Abraham Abulafia's esoteric thought in relation to Maimonides, Maimonideans, and Islamic thought in the line of Leo Strauss' theory of the history of philosophy. A survey of Abulafia's sources leads into an analysis of the esoteric meaning on the famous parable of the three rings, considering also the possible connection between this parable, which Abdulafia inserted into a book dedicated to his student, the 13th century rabbi Nathan the wise, and the Lessing's Play "Nathan the Wise." The book also examines Abulafia's universalistic understanding of the nature of the Bible, the Hebrew language, and the people of Israel (or the Sinaic revelation). The universal aspects of Abulafia’s thought have been put in relief against the more widespread Kabbalistic views which are predominantly particularistic. A number of texts have also been identified here for the first time as authored by Abulafia.

Toward a History of Jewish Thought

See Kellner, Maimonides on Human Perfection, 1–2; Rudavsky, Maimonides, 95, 102. ... See Silver, Maimonidean Criticism, 28 (In the Commentary on the Mishnah, Maimonides avoided spelling out his preference for the immortality of the soul ...

Toward a History of Jewish Thought

The work is a history of Jewish beliefs regarding the concept of the soul, the idea of resurrection, and the nature of the afterlife. The work describes these beliefs, accounts for the origin of these beliefs, discusses the ways in which these beliefs have evolved, and explains why the many changes in belief have occurred. Views about the soul, resurrection, and the afterlife are related to other Jewish views and to broad movements in Jewish thought; and Jewish intellectual history is placed within the context of the history of Western thought in general. That history begins with the biblical period and extends to the present time.

Must a Jew Believe Anything

A further upshot of this theory is that just 11 Maimonides ' theory that human , religious , Jewish perfection involves the acquis- ition of philosophical truths is summarized in Menachem Kellner , Maimonides on Human Perfection ...

Must a Jew Believe Anything

The crucial question for today's Jewish world, Kellner argues, is not whether Jews will have Jewish grandchildren, but how many different sorts of mutually exclusive Judaisms those grandchildren will face. This accessible book examines how the split that threatens the Jewish future can be avoided. For this second edition, the author has added a substantial Afterword, reviewing his thinking on the subject and addressing the reactions to the original edition.

A Philosopher of Scripture

Sometimes, on the other hand, the measure of what comes to the individual overflows from rendering him perfect toward ... according to Maimonides, all true guidance of others towards human perfection is the product of an individual's ...

A Philosopher of Scripture

In A Philosopher of Scripture: The Exegesis and Thought of Tanḥum ha-Yerushalmi, Raphael Dascalu presents a detailed intellectual portrait of Tanḥum ha-Yerushalmi (d. 1291, Egypt) – a Jewish philosopher and mystic, linguist and philologist, and a biblical exegete of singular breadth.

Homo Mysticus

A Guide to Maimonides's Guide for the Perplexed José Faur ... Maimonides distinguished between " human perfection " in general , connected with the individual's somatic and social situation , and " true human perfection .

Homo Mysticus

In his seminal work, A Guide for the Perplexed, Moses Maimonides (1135–1204) laid the foundation for the future development of Jewish philosophy. In the centuries following his death, his book became the exemplar of reasoning faith. Its purpose was to reconcile Aristotle with Jewish philosophy and to provide a philosophical basis for Judaism’s teachings. Written in Arabic, the Guide was translated into Hebrew and Latin, with its influence extending to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In Homo Mysticus, José Faur offers a modern rereading of Maimonides’s groundbreaking work. He examines the ideas, perspectives, and methodologies developed in modern critical theory and poststructural analysis and applies them to achieve an exciting new interpretation of the Guide. Faur’s interpretation of this text reveals Maimonides’s views on prophecy and philosophy, on imagination and intellect, on providence, on the importance of fulfilling the commandments, and above all on esoterism and mysticism. The result is a radical new interpretation of Maimonides, which will become the starting point for all future discussion and research on the philosopher and his important work.