Tag: maimonides

Difficulties with the Akedah story explained

    The thrust of Soren Kierkegaard’s 1843 influential book “Fear and Trembling” is long reflections on Abraham’s near sacrifice of his son Isaac, a story told in Genesis 22.[1] Kierkegaard concludes from his analysis that Abraham represents the prototype of faith, for he showed faith when he was willing to obey God’s command to […]

The solution is simple

                                                  In an exccelent and informative article, Professor Marty Lockshin of York University, a rabbi, examined the difficulty raised by Deuteronomy 13:2-4 and tells the solutions offered in a Midrash and by several medieval Jewish commentators.[1] I will add another solution. Deuteronomy states: “If there appears among you a prophet or a dream-diviner – […]

Are Divine Commands Rational?

  While there are Jews who are convinced that certain biblical commands are inscrutable and that even though we do not understand them, we must obey them, others like Maimonides and Abraham ibn Ezra were convinced that all the divine commands are rational and people can and indeed should understand them.[1] In his commentary to […]

Maimonides said what Nietzsche said

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) offers three main ideas in “The Gay Science,” written in 1882 with additions in 1887, a book called “one of his most beautiful, most idea rich books,”[1] whose title is also translated as “The Joyful Wisdom.” First, God is dead or, as I understand it, the reliance on God should cease. He […]

Who was Maimonides?

Many Jews see Maimonides (1138-1204) as the greatest Jewish personality and sage since the biblical Moses, quoting the maxim “from (the biblical) Moses to Moses (Maimonides) there has been no one like Moses.” These people recognize that all of the rabbis, sages and philosophers who lived since the first Moses – including the writers of […]

Maimonides’ methodology and prophecy

Maimonides (1138-1204) wrote his philosophical work Guide of the Perplexed in 1190 to disseminate truths as he saw them to fellow Jews who lacked his knowledge. He was particularly interested in demonstrating that the biblical and rabbinical writings are consistent with the rationalistic philosophy of the Greek philosopher Aristotle (384–322 B.C.E.). M. Friedlander, in his […]

Did we sin?

  I bought a statue of the famed philosopher Aristotle. It is covered in heavy bronze. It is 14.25 inches tall. It looks great. I placed it next to the Maimonides books that I wrote because Aristotle (384-322 BCE) and Maimonides (1138-1204 CE) are my favorite philosophers. Both are rationalists. Socrates taught Plato, Plato taught […]

We need to think about Maimonides

  It is good to be reminded of Maimonides, especially in this time when so many people are influenced by the idea that God wants people to have faith, that faith is all that is important, except, possibly, so some people contend, God created the world so that people can, indeed should, sit back and […]

Nachmanides’ attempt to defend Judaism at Barcelona

“The Disputation at Barcelona, by Ramban,” translated by Rabbi Dr. Charles B. Chavel, is a classic text composed by Nachmanides (1195-1270), also known as Ramban, of the formal dispute that Nachmanides had with Pablo Christiani in 1263 before the king of Aragon, James I. It is an interesting piece of Jewish history. There are two […]

The curious views of Nahmanides

  Nachmanides was a famed Bible and Talmud commentator. His real name was Moses ben Nahman Gerondi. He is known in Hebrew as Ramban and in European languages as Nahmanides, also spelt Nachmanides (1194-1270). He was a mystic and had mystical ideas. What are some of his views? Among much else, Nahmanides believed that Jews […]

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