- 0,99 €
The Guide for the Perplexed consists of three works by Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, more commonly known as Moses Maimonides, which chart the relationship between philosophy and the Jewish religion.
Maimonides published this book during the early 12th century A.D. in Judeo-Arabic. Only after its translation to Hebrew fourteen years later did it experience wide distribution and consequent praise and criticism from religious figures and scholars, who were polarized by the author's attempts to reconcile philosophical ideas with the canon of Judaism.
In the first book, Maimonides tackles aspects of the Biblical canon, notably the anthropomorphic approach to God, and the notion that the divine can figuratively or literally be represented in any physical form. This is in marked contrast to numerous passages of the Old Testament, which alludes to the 'hand of God' and other physical traits. Later in the book, Maimonides criticizes aspects of the Jewish canon, identifying a series of flaws in the schools of Jewish Kalam and Islamic Kalam.
The second book opens with an examination of the universe as it was known and understood by scholars during the Middle Ages. As such, Maimonides view is little different from the Aristotelian ideas of the physical world put forward in classical Greece. Maimonides attempts to connect this theory with the contents of the book of Genesis, and supernatural beings such as the angels together with the phenomena of dreaming.
The final book sees Maimonides bring his treatise to a conclusion by analyzing a mystical passage of the Chariot found in Ezekiel. Owing to its sensitivity, this passage was traditionally not taught - Maimonides however uses the passage, justifies this use with argument, and leads on from this teaching with a detailed analysis of evil's occurrence in the universe. The concluding chapters focus on aspects of Jewish law - namely the 613 mitzvot and the Ten Commandments - before concluding that a sound grasp of philosophy is essential for adherents of Judaism.
A historic and valuable text, this book investigates the relationship between the Jewish faith and philosophic schools of thought in a depth never before witnessed. Many Jews lauded the work for its bold critiques and incisive attempts at unifying and reconciling the scholarly and religious traditions, and it remains a popularly read text.
However, The Guide for the Perplexed also met with swift condemnation from the more conservative figures within the Jewish faith. The charge of heresy, which Maimonides himself brought in his work, was cast against himself. The book was banned in many synagogues and local Jewish groups, and was even burned by traditionalists on several occasions.
This edition contains the Friedlander translation to English, which is notable for its authoritative tone, accessibility, thorough commentary and voluminous notes. A short biography of Moses Maimonides is also appended, as is an introduction and analysis of the work.