Reinventing Maimonides in Contemporary Jewish Thought

James A. Diamond and Menachem Kellner

£29.95
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ISBN: 9781906764951

Publication: February 28, 2019

Series: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization

Every work on Jewish thought and law since the twelfth century bears the imprint of Maimonides. A. N. Whitehead’s famous dictum that the entire European philosophical tradition ‘consists of a series of footnotes to Plato’ could equally characterize Maimonides’ place in the Jewish tradition. The critical studies in this volume explore how Orthodox rabbis of different orientations—Shlomo Aviner, Naftali Zvi Yehudah Berlin (Netziv), Kalonymus Kalman Shapira, Joseph Kafih, Abraham Isaac Kook, Aaron Kotler, Joseph Soloveitchik, and Elhanan Wasserman—have read and provided footnotes to Maimonides in the long twentieth century. How well did they really understand Maimonides? And where do their arguments fit in the mainstream debates about him and his works? Each of the seven core chapters examines a particular approach. Some rabbis have tried to liberate themselves from the influence of his ideas. Others have sought to build on those ideas or expand them in ways which Maimonides himself did not pursue, and which he may well not have agreed with. Still others advance patently non-Maimonidean positions, while attributing them to none other than Maimonides. Above all, the essays published here demonstrate that his legacy remains vibrantly alive today.

James A. Diamond is Joseph & Wolf Lebovic Chair of Jewish Studies at the University of Waterloo, Ontario. He is the author of Maimonides and the Shaping of the Jewish Canon (2012), winner of a Canadian Jewish Literary Award in 2015, and Converts, Heretics and Lepers: Maimonides and the Outsider (2007).

Menachem Kellner is chair of the Department of Philosophy and Jewish Thought, Shalem College, Jerusalem and Wolfson Professor Emeritus of Jewish Thought, University of Haifa.

Note on Transliteration Note on Sources
Introduction James A. Diamond and Menachem Kellner
1. Rabbi Naftali Tsevi Yehuda Berlin: The Love of Israel versus the Love of the Mind James A. Diamond
2. Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik and Maimonides Menachem Kellner
3. Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook and the Mystification of Maimonidean Rationalism James A. Diamond
4. Maimonides and R. Kalonymus Kalman Shapira: Abandoning Reason in the Warsaw Ghetto James A. Diamond
5. Rav Elhanan Wasserman on Maimonides, and Maimonides on ‘Reb Elhanan’ Menachem Kellner
6. Each Generation and Its Maimonides: The Maimonides of Rav Aharon Kotler Menachem Kellner
7. What, Not Who, Is a Jew: Halevi-Maimonides in Those Days, Rabbi Aviner and Rabbi Kafih in Our Days Menachem Kellner
Afterword Seth Avi Kadish
Bibliography Index

Format: Hardback

Size: 239 × 163 mm

248 Pages

Copyright: © 2019

ISBN: 9781906764951

Publication: February 28, 2019

Series: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization

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