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Isaac ha-Levi. Commentary on the Moreh, I. See Maskir, , p. Anonymous Commentaries.

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No author or date is given, nor is any other commentary referred to in the notes. The Midrashic character is prominent in the notes. The notes are numerous, especially in the first part, explaining almost every word; e. Of a similar style seem to be the Arabic notes in the Berlin MS.


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Steinschneider, No. The explanation of passages from the Pentateuch contained in the Moreh have been collected by D. Ottensosser, and given as an appendix Morehderek to Derek-selulah Pent. It was most perplexing to pious Talmudists to learn how Maimonides explained the anthropomorphisms employed in the Bible, the Midrashim and the Talmud, what he thought about the future state of our soul, and that he considered the study of philosophy as the highest degree of Divine worship, surpassing even the study of the Law and the practice of its precepts. Stronger was the opposition that had its centre in Montpellier.

Rabbi Solomon ben Abraham noticed with regret in his own community the fruit of the theories of Maimonides in the neglect of the study of the Law and of the practice of the Divine precepts.

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It happened to Moses Maimonides what in modern times happened to Moses Mendelssohn. Many so-called disciples and followers of the great master misunderstood or misinterpreted his teaching in support of their dereliction of Jewish law and Jewish practice, and thus brought disrepute on him in the eyes of their opponents. Thus it came that Rabbi Solomon and his disciples turned their wrath against the writings of Maimonides instead of combating the arguments of the pseudo-Maimonists.

Edelmann, p. Meir b. Todros ha-levi Abulafia wrote already during the lifetime of Maimonides to the wise men in Lunel about the heretic doctrines he discovered in the works of Maimonides. Ahron b. Meshullam and Shesheth Benvenisti defended Maimonides. Abraham b. Abraham Saportas on the side of the Maimonists, took part in the controversy.

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Meshullam b. Kalonymos b. Representatives of the congregations of Saragossa, Huesca, Monzon, Kalatajud, and Lerida signed declarations against R. Solomon ben-Aderet of Barcelona, concerned the Moreh less directly. The question was of a more general character: Is the study of philosophy dangerous to the religious belief of young students? Brill Paris, The whole controversy ended in the victory of the Moreh and the other writings of Maimonides.

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Stray remarks are found in various works, some in praise and some in condemnation of Maimonides. A few instances may suffice. Luzzato regards Maimonides with great reverence, but this does not prevent him from severely criticising his philosophical theories Letters to S. Rappoport, No. Numerous poems were written, both in admiration and in condemnation of the Moreh. Most of them precede or follow the Moreh in the printed editions and in the various MS.

In the Sammelband of the Mekize Nirdamim a collection of 69 of these poems is contained, edited and explained by Prof. Leipzig, Of the works that discuss the whole or part of the philosophical system of the Moreh the following are noteworthy:—.


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  • Bacher, W. Eisler, M. Geiger, A. Das Judenthum u.

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    Geschichte d. Juden, VI. Joel, M. Albertus Magnus u. Philippsohn, L. Die Philosophie des Maimonides. Predigt und Schul-Magazin, I. Magdeburg, Rubin, S. Spinoza u. Maimonides, ein Psychologisch-Philosophisches Antitheton Wien, Das psychologische System des Maimonides.

    Joseph, the son of Jehudah Ibn Aknin, a disciple of Maimonides, is addressed by his teacher as an example of this kind of students. An exposition of the esoteric ideas sodot in the books of the Prophets. A treatment of certain metaphysical problems. This, in fact, is a correct account of the contents of the book; but in the second part of the Introduction, in which the theme of this work is defined, the author mentions only the first-named subject.

    Of these some are homonymous, some figurative, and some hybrid terms. But in the passage quoted above he confines himself to a delineation of the main object of this treatise, and advisedly leaves unmentioned the other two subjects, which, however important they may be, are here of subordinate interest. Nor did he consider it necessary to expatiate on these subjects; he only wrote for the student, for whom a mere reference to works on philosophy and science was sufficient.

    But our observation only holds good with regard to the Aristotelian philosophy. Edition: current; Page: [ xl ] The writings of the Mutakallemim are never commended by him; he states their opinions, and tells his disciple that he would not find any additional argument, even if he were to read all their voluminous works p. The exposition of Scriptural texts is divided by the author into two parts; the first part treats of homonymous, figurative, and hybrid terms, 1 employed in reference to God; the second part relates to Biblical figures and allegories.

    It seems that the author adopted this arrangement for the following reason: first of all, he intended to establish the fact that the Biblical anthropomorphisms do not imply corporeality, and that the Divine Being of whom the Bible speaks could therefore be regarded as identical with the Primal Cause of the philosophers. Having established this principle, he discusses from a purely metaphysical point of view the properties of the Primal Cause and its relation to the universe.

    A solid foundation is thus established for the esoteric exposition of Scriptural passages. On homonymous, figurative, and hybrid terms. On the Primal Cause and its relation to the universe, according to the philosophers. Esoteric exposition of some portions of the Bible sodot : a, Maaseh bereshith, or the history of the Creation Genesis, ch. According to this plan, the work ends with the seventh chapter of the Third Part.

    The chapters which follow may be considered as an appendix; they treat of the following theological themes: the Existence of Evil, Omniscience and Providence, Temptations, Design in Nature, in the Law, and in the Biblical Narratives, and finally the true Worship of God. Inquiring into the root of the evil which the Guide was intended to remove, viz.

    The main difficulty is found in the ambiguity of the words employed by the prophets when speaking of the Divine Being; the question arises whether they are applied to the Deity and to other things in one and the same sense or equivocally; in the latter case the author distinguishes between homonyms pure and simple, figures, and hybrid terms. In order to show that the Biblical anthropomorphisms do not imply the corporeality of the Deity, he seeks in each instance to demonstrate that the expression under examination Edition: current; Page: [ xli ] is a perfect homonym denoting things which are totally distinct from each other, and whenever such a demonstration is impossible, he assumes that the expression is a hybrid term, that is, being employed in one instance figuratively and in another homonymously.

    Maimonides seems to have refrained from explaining anthropomorphisms as figurative expressions, lest by such interpretation he might implicitly admit the existence of a certain relation and comparison between the Creator and His creatures. The Commentators, when treating of anthropomorphisms, generally contented themselves with the statement that the term under consideration must not be taken in its literal sense, or they paraphrased the passage in expressions which implied a lesser degree of corporeality.

    The Talmud, the Midrashim, and the Targumim abound in paraphrases of this kind. Saadiah enumerates ten terms which primarily denote organs of the human body, and are figuratively applied to God.