Perspectives on Maimonides

Philosophical and Historical Studies

Edited by Joel L. Kraemer

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ISBN: 9781874774266

Publication: October 1, 1996

Series: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization

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Leading scholars have combined forces to produce this volume on the philosophy and legal views of Moses Maimonides (1138–1204) and the historical context in which he worked. The philosophical section examines Maimonides’ ethical doctrine; his paradoxical life-style; his Guide of the Perplexed; his attitude to mysticism; his use of language; and his theory of astronomy. The legal section deals with law and medicine, the relation of Maimonides’ legal thought to the Talmud; his doctrine of a just war; and his theory of redemption and Messianism. The history section examines Maimonides’ accession to the position of head of the Jewish community in its historical context, at the time of the rise of the ‘Ayyubid dynasty under Saladin.

Joel L. Kraemer is a former Professor of Jewish Studies and of Social Thought, University of Chicago.


Introduction JOEL L. KRAEMER

Part I  Philosophy: Ethics, Politics, Metaphysics
1 The Ethical Views of Maimonides within the context of Islamicate Civilization LAWRENCE V. BERMAN
2 Maimonides’ Governance of the Solitary RALPH LERNER
3 Maimonides in the Sultan's Palace STEVEN HARVEY
4 Maimonides on the Philosophic Sciences in his Treatise on the Art of Logic JOEL L. KRAEMER
5 Why Maimonides was not a Mutakallim WARREN ZEV HARVEY
6 Neoplatonic Currents in Maimonides' Thought ALFRED L. IVRY
7 Maimonides’ Quest beyond Philosophy and Prophecy ITHAMAR GRUENWALD
8 The 'True Perplexity': The Guide of the Perplexed, Part II, Chapter 24 TZVI LANGERMANN
9 Maimonides on Religious Language ARTHUR HYMAN

Part II Jewish Law
10 Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed on Forbidden Food in the light of his own Medical Opinion JACOB LEVINGER
11 Holy War in Maimonidean Law GERALD J. BLIDSTEIN
12 ‘To the Utmost of Human Capacity’: Maimonides on the Days of the Messiah AVIEZER RAVITZKY
13 Maimonides on Eretz Yisrael: Halakhic, Philosophic, and Historical Perspectives ISADORE TWERSKY

Part III History
14 ‘At Our Place in al-Andalus’, ‘At Our Place in the Maghreb’ JOSHUA BLAU
15 The Early Decades of Ayyubid Rule JOSEPH DRORY
16 Saladin’s Egypt and Maimonides ANDREW S. EHRENKREUTZ
17 Saladin’s Religious Personality, Policy, and Image MICHAEL WINTER


‘It is very apposite to have it now in paperback: less expensive, it will allow students to possess a volume that will acquaint them with high standards of scholarship, showing at the same time that although so much has been said and written about Maimonides, it is still possible to come up with new and interesting insights into his life and works, which continue to be interpreted very differently by different scholars.’
Gad Freudenthal, Journal of Religious History

‘These studies, however disparate, provide us with convincing evidence of the continuing importance of Maimonides’s philosophy. They make clear that no set of studies ever exhausts all that a major thinker of this eminence offers serious students of his work.’
Marvin Fox, Times Literary Supplement

‘Kraemer’s book was first published in hardback in 1991, and has since then been much consulted, since it is surely one of the best surveys both of Maimonides and of his historical context . . . an important contribution.’
Oliver Leaman, Le'ela

‘For many years to come it is likely to remain a major reference volume for students of Maimonides.’
Sarah Stroumsa, Jewish Quarterly Review

‘The papers . . . represent a variety of viewpoints, and all merit careful study . . . a pleasure to read . . . the volume is a welcome addition to the growing number of books on the most important of medieval Jewish thinkers.’
Alexander Broadie, Jewish Quarterly

‘Fine introduction . . . A rich portrait of Maimonides’ thought emerges in these pages.’
Fred Morgan, Jewish Book News & Reviews

‘[The articles] remain very instructive both in terms of their contents and methodology. Indeed, they introduce many basic issues in Maimonides’ philosophy and law . . . an indispensable tool for the study of Maimonides, for it sets forth not only contents and analysis, but also methods of inquiry.’
Binyamin Abrahamov, Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam

Format: Paperback

Size: 140 x 216 x 18 mm

342 Pages

ISBN: 9781874774266

Publication: October 1, 1996

Series: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization

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