Thursday, January 08, 2009

Maimonides Thought Revisited

More than half year ago I read "Maimonides and Medieval Jewish Philosophy" by Idit Dobbs-Weinstein. However, it is no question that everything changes in us upon life experience.
In November I was gifted to pray at Maimonides tomb in Tiberias:



I had also chance to meet a tiny part of his thoughts and writings through my orthodox friend. Then, I read parts of his teaching about Noahide Laws. All these events caused my return to the book. The value of the book lies in fact that author not only recognises Maimonides great influence on philosophy and science, but also stresses his importance for religious studies.
From the book one gets conviction that Maimonides was genius in bringing together science and religion - in such a way, that nor science nor religion looses anything from their values.Even more, Prof. Idit stresses his top importance, lasting for more than 800 years now, for both philosophy and for Judaism.

The book has also interesting thread about Maimonides intellectual dialog with 200 years earlier Rabbi Saadia (Rabbi Se`adiah ben Yosef Gaon). The dialog of admiration, but also, on the level of philosophical debate - the dialog of disagreement with his philosophy which was close to Kalam philosophy.

The another interesting part is the analysis of Maimonides concept of primary matter.Once you read that, and you know a bit of modern physics - you wonder - how close were this concept (in their spirit & logic) to what we see in modern physics....

Of course, the book is more inclined to analysis of famous Maimonides book: "The guide for the perplexed" than to his monumental Mishne Torah. This does not give us full picture about Rambam (another name fro Maimonides), but, I think, one can forgive the author, the secular philosopher, that innocent bias :-)

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