Rabbi Elisha Ben Abuyah "At the Mind's Limit": Between Theodicy and Fate

Philosophy and Literature 38 (1):153-168 (2014)
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Rabbinic tradition, as given in the Palestinian and Babylonian versions of the Talmud, transmits an account of Rabbi Elisha ben Abuyah only to depreciate him for the “pariah” that he was during his lifetime. For one who accepts rabbinic authority, there can be no moral ambiguity about the character of the man, his beliefs, or his aspirations.1 The twelfth-century philosopher and rabbi Moses Maimonides spared no criticism of Elisha. Maimonides wrote The Guide for the Perplexed with the object of enlightening “a religious man who has been trained to believe in the truth of our holy Law, who conscientiously fulfills his moral and religious duties, and at the same time has been successful in his philosophical studies ..



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