With the widening schism between Orthodox and non-Orthodox and secular Jews, Kellner (Jewish religious thought, U. of Haifa) addresses the timely issue of the future of Judaism in the context of the classical faith. Appends notes on Maimonides, other Jewish thinkers, and prayers (Yigdal,Ani ma'amin). Distributed in the US by ISBS. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR.
This study charts the development of creed formulation in Judaism from its inception with Moses Maimonides (1135-1204) to the beginning of the 16th century, when systematic attention to the problem disappeared from the agenda of Jewish intellectuals. Kellner describes, analyzes, and compares the dogmatic systems of Maimonides, Duran, Crescas, Albo, Bibago, Abravanel, and many others, and provides English translations of several previously unexamined or untranslated texts.
Knowledge: to know is to love -- Love: Abraham, Moses, and the meaning of circumcision -- Seasons: Hanukah and Purim reconfigured -- Women: marital and universal peace -- Holiness: commandments as intruments -- Asseverations: socila responsibility and sanctifying God's name -- Agriculture: sanctifying all human beings -- Temple service: the divinity of the comandments -- Offerings: the morality of the commandments -- Reitual purity: intellectual and moral purity -- Damages: who is a Jew? -- Acquision: slavery versus universal humkanity -- (...) Civil laws: God of Aristotle in the God of Abraham -- Judges: Messianic universalism -- Appendix: Maimonides' cosmic paradigm. (shrink)
Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed addressed Jews of his day who felt challenged by apparent contradictions between Torah and science. We Are Not Alone: A Maimonidean Theology of the Other uses Maimonides' writings to address Jews of today who are perplexed by apparent contradictions between the morality of the Torah and their conviction that all human beings are created in the image of God and are the object of divine concern, that other religions have value, that genocide is never justified, (...) and that slavery is evil. Individuals who choose to emphasize the moral and universalist elements of Jewish tradition can often find support in positions explicitly held by Maimonides or implied by his teachings. We Are Not Alone offers an ethical and universalist vision of traditionalist Judaism. (shrink)
Presents five new perspectives on the free will problem, and six interpretations of what Jewish thinkers of the past had to say about the problem. Topics include the concept of freedom that exists independently of a sense of self, arguments against the principle of alternative possibilities, the denial of free will in Hasidic thought, notions of choice held by Medieval Jewish and Islamic thinkers, and Maimonides' concepts of freedom and the sense of shame. Distributed by CDL Press. Annotation copyrighted by (...) Book News, Inc., Portland, OR. (shrink)
Providence and the rabbinic tradition -- Mosaic prophecy: Maimonides and Gersonides -- Eschatology and miracles -- Creation, miracles, revelation -- Song of Songs and Gersonides' world -- Maimonides and Gersonides on astronomy and metaphysics -- Gersonides on the Song of Songs and the nature of science -- Politics and perfection: Gersonides vs. Maimonides -- The role of the active intellect in human cognition -- Imitatio dei and the dissemination of scientific knowledge -- Moses ibn Tibbon and Gersonides on Song of (...) Songs -- Misogyny: Gersonides vs. Maimonides -- Gersonides and his cultured despisers: Arama and Abravanel. (shrink)
Maimonides is regularly thought to have seen the ideal human as nothing more than a rational animal. In this essay I show that this picture of Maimonides is insufficiently nuanced and reflects a notion of intellectualism thinner and more pallid than that actually held by him. But first I adduce evidence for the standard view from Maimonides’ positions on perfected and imperfected human beings, and from his discussions of immortality, morality, providence, prophecy, and the distinction between humans and animals. Maimonides’ (...) universalism and his messianic vision are also shown to reflect his intellectualism. In the second half of the essay I argue that Maimonides holds that knowledge is transformative. Through an analysis of his discussions of human perfection, prophecy, and love of God, it is shown that learning carried out properly transforms the learner into a new kind of person. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
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.
An interesting question arises in the context of the typically medieval description of the universe presented at the beginning of Maimonides' great law code, the Mishneh Torah. What was Maimonides' own attitude towards that account? Was it meant only as a statement of the best description of nature available at the time matters which make up the bulk of the Mishneh Torah) or was it meant to be a description of the true nature of the universe as it really is, (...) not subject to revision in the light of new paradigms or new models ? Answering this question will lead us to a better understanding of Maimonides' understanding of the nature of science and of what I shall call, for lack of a better term, scientific progress. Maimonides will be shown to hold that while sublunar science can reach perfection and completion such is not possible for superlunar science and that to the extent that the scientific matters in the Mishneh Torah deal with the latter they could not have been presented as the final description of the universe as it truly is. (shrink)