Moreh Nevuchim

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The Guide for the Perplexed (Hebrew: מורה נבוכים, translit.  Moreh Nevuchim,  Arabic: ‎dalālatul ḥā’irīn دلالة الحائرين)  is one of  the major works of  Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, better known as Maimonides or  Rambam.

It was written in the 12th century in the form of a three-volume letter to his student,  Rabbi Joseph ben Judah of  Ceuta, the son of  Rabbi  Judah, and is the main source of the Rambam’s philosophical views,  as opposed to his opinions on  Jewish law.

Since many of the philosophical concepts,  such as his view of theodicy and the relationship between philosophy and religion, are relevant beyond strictly Jewish theology, it has been the work most commonly associated with Maimonides in the non-Jewish world and it is known to have influenced several major non-Jewish philosophers. Following its publication,  “almost every philosophic work  for the remainder of the Middle Ages cited, commented on, or criticized Maimonides’ views.” Within Judaism, the Guide became widely popular, with manyJewish communities requesting copies of the manuscript, but also quite controversial, with some communities limiting its study or banning it altogether  (more in Wikipedia).

Developer’s notes – The Guide for the Perplexed by Moses Maimonides,  M. Freidländer, tr.

Maimonides’ masterful summation of theology, natural philosophy and divine law. The Guide consists of three books. The first book deals with the nature of G-d, concluding that G-d cannot be described in positive terms. He uses this argument to systematically deconstruct the Islamic Kalam literalist school of thought, which anthropomorphized G-d. The second book examines natural philosophy, particularly Aristotle’s  system of concentric spheres, and theories of the creation and duration of the universe, and the theory of angels and prophecy. In the last Book, he expounds the mystical Merkavah section of Ezekhiel, skirting the traditional prohibition of direct explanation of this passage. After this he covers the 613 laws of the Torah, organized into 14 branches, attempting to present rational explanations for each law.  Throughout, Maimonides stresses that the student needs to consider all theories.

About the Author
Moses Maimonides (March 28, 1138 Cordoba,  Spain – December 13, 1204 Fostat, Egypt), was a rabbi, physician, and philosopher in Andalusia, Morocco and Egypt during the Middle Ages. He was one of the various medieval Jewish philosophers who also influenced the non-Jewish world. Although his copious works on Jewish law and ethics were initially met with opposition during his lifetime, he was posthumously acknowledged to be one of the foremost rabbinical arbiters and philosophers in Jewish history.

Today, his works and his views are considered a cornerstone of Jewish thought and study.

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