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Moses Maimonides

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  • Category: Judaism

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* Most famous, important piece of writing
* Written 1168-78 CE, the Mishnah Torah was the first systematic and comprehensive codification of the entire Jewish law separated into 14 books or sections. Was written in Hebrew and was intended to encourage the average Jew to access the body of Jewish law more easily. * The Mishnah Torah (the second Torah or repetition of the Torah) organised the complex and confusingly arranged Talmud into logical order that was accessible to the non Talmudic scholar . E.g. the everyday law. * Maimonides intention was to compose a book that would guide Jews on how to behave (‘halacha’ –proper practice) in all situations , without having to waste large amounts of time searching through the Talmud . * The Mishnah Torah covered 3 main areas for Jews

1. The book of knowledge (sefer haMada) covers issues of belief , study of Torah , repentance. 2. Thirteen books detail Jewish ritual and civil laws such as blessings, circumcision, holy days, relationships, between males and females , dietary law and ethics. 3. Notion of the Messiah – discusses the time when the messiah would come. (what will happen when messiah comes) * Mishneh Torah = “repetition of the torah”) subtitled sefer yad haHazaka (“book of the strong hand) is a code of Jewish religious law (halakha)

* Known as the Raman
* Born in Cordoba , Spain but moved later moved to fez in Morocco as Muslims toke over the city and started persecuting the Jews. * In 1165 Maimonides but soon after steeled in Fustat , in Egypt . * He became head of the Egyptian Jewish community and his fame spread . * Began writing at 16 .

* He began his Kitab al Siraj , an Arabic commentary on the Talmud when he was 23 and finished it 10 years later. * This contains the bold essay , thirteen attributes of faith – a list of Jewish beliefs , emulating the credos of Islam and Christianity. * Next he wrote the mishneh torah , an exposttion and summary of the jewish law in Hebrew . This book was intended to make the laws accessible to common people .

This body of work was completed around 200 CE. The Mishnah was the oral law in written form . The oral law had developed among the teachers of the second temple period as an interpretation and development of the Torah . Commentary on the Mishnah (a book written by Marmonide )

2. Mishnah

Based on written Torah

Mishnah extended the Torah’s vision so that it would apply to the whole of life of the contemporary world , at that time.

The commentary on the Mishnah
His commentary on the Mishnah was the first one that explained the laws of the Mishnah was the first one that explained the laws of the Mishnah .

* Mishnah Torah
* Written at the age of 32 – toke 10 years to write
* Confided the Talmud
* Written in Hebrew in order to be accessible to Jews
* Divided into 14 books – each book dealing with related laws – each chapter dealing with 1 halacha * Wanted it to be used by students who had knowledge of Hebrew and the laws of Israel , but who were not experts in the law * Listed all laws of daily life and religious observances that can be found in the Talmud . * Since he was a doctor , he included such advice as eating , exercising and other daily concerns . He said that it was a mitzvah , a religious duty to keep ones self healthy .

* The Commentary on the Mishnah
* Written in Arabic 1158- 1168
* Offered brief explanations for each Mishnah – explaining everything that is not totally clear * Includes new information and advice for the practical application of the Torah * Discussed fundamental concepts such as prophecy , revelation and tradition * In his commentary Maimonides elaborates upon the development of Jewish law and deals with the fundamental principles of Judaism as formulated in his thirteen articles of faith . * Clarifying that portion of the text that is a springboard for the entire Talmud. * First to explain the laws of the Mishnah clearly and simply * In the commentary , Maimonides included his thirteen principles of faith which are said everyday in the morning service .

* The guide for the perplexed (Moreh Nevuchim) was written 1187-1191 CE. * It was a philosophical piece of writing in which he tried to bring together the philosophy of Aristotle (secular or non religious) to show that religion and science can coexist and are not in conflict. It also addresses everyday moral dilemmas

* Impact
* Still studied by Jews and non Jews
* Translated into several languages
* Jewish scholars still use and refer to this text

* Maimonides was held in high esteem of his knowledge of Jewish law and religion * Many Jewish leaders and authorities looked to Maimonides , calling upon his scholarly insights into religious law , as well as general civil issues . * He wrote various response (teshuvot) in answer to thousands of questions directed to him from Jews all over the world * These response concerned all areas of Jewish life from religious philosophical problems , questions of faith , matters dealing with Jewish law and to explanations of complex Torah passages . * Maimonides famous “letter to Yemen” in 1172 CE offered the Yemenite community encouragement and practical advice when local rulers issued religious decrees , forcing Jews to choose between conversion and death . * Maimonides numerous response regarding practical issues of halacha had a major impact * Then :

* Consoled jews by reminding them that all past and present suffering were focused by the prophets and they would continue to be indestructible * He reaffirmed hope in messiah to redeem all the jews fro their suffering * Now

* Responsa played a significant role in the developmet of jewish legal practice and thought and are important TEXTS IN JEWISH LITERATURE TODAY.

Contribution , impact and influence

– Much of life in Egypt
-Born 1135
-Came from family who was relatively professional
-Taught largely by father
-Widely regarded as the greatest philosopher of the medieval period -Also physician and rabbinical authority
-Writings include a 14 volume work on Jewish law , the Mishnah Torah – – Did not like poetry
-Jewish community most important influence to Maimonides
* -Got ideas and was influenced by shite
* -see purity of Jewish observant’s
* -Torah : First books of Hebrew bible
* -Language scene – Arabic , writes in Arabic , fluent in Hebrew * -Mishnah Torah – putting together in in one code
* -Intention was to write a concise code which will put together all traditions , cut though all disagreements and debates , law regarding every single matter. * -Things of first prayer in morning , prayer of dead , laws of what will happen when temple built . Book was meant to present every law ever discussed and legal decisions about it . * -Looking for a way of understanding reality

* -to mottos for human perfection , one was moses who had revelation and knowledge and the other was arestarto . You could reach the idea even if you didn’t go though the Mishnah Torah but you had to be a very unique individual. * – A guide forth pretexted : very complex , made up of various elements . IT is not for the simple person observing the law , or the philosopher . It is for well educated person but feels attention from what they are learning form science , philosophy and what they are hearing from a church or scriptures * – Trying to provide a reconciliation .

* -Trying show god is beyond anything , he is trying to reconcile of the ordinary scriptures. * – Reconciliation of the law of Abraham , not just Moses * -Negative philosophy : cannot say anything about god

Explain the contribution of Moses Maimonides to the development and expression of Judaism . Moses Maimonides was born in 1135 and died until 1204. Maimonides was a Jewish rabbi , physician and philosopher who lived in Spain and Egypt during the middle ages .

While Maimonides careers include physician to the sultan of Egypt and leader of Cairo’s Jewish public , it is his productive works that have the most intense and long lasting influence on Judaism .

* Greek and Islamic , as well as Jewish schools of thought are influenced by his works. Although they were considered highly contentious during his lifetime , he is now considered to be the most influential figures in medieval Jewish philosophy .

Maimonides has three main works . These include the Commentary on The Mishnah , The Mishnah Torah and the guide for the perplexed. The Commentary on the Mishnah was originally written in Arabic , this was a ground breaking work. It’s most famous article , “The 13 principles of faith” summarises the grounds of Jewish belief . The first five deal with the knowledge of god , the next five deal with the prophecy and the Torah, while the last four deal with reward , punishment and ultimate redemption . The Mishnah Torah was a systematic code or summary of the complete body of Jewish law and is considered by some scholars to be Maimonides major contribution to Judaism. It’s role was to instruct Jews on how to act in all circumstances without having to search the Talmud . Therefore it encountered a lot of opposition from traditional Jews who felt the Talmud would no longer be in use. The guide of the pretexted was originally written Arabic and is considered extremely significant . It was separated into three parts and deals with some of the most demanding questions in theology such as “when did the world begin” ? The first book deals with the nature of god and concludes that it can only ‘ be described in negative terms , for example “God is wise” , but rather “god in not ignorant”.

This was because Maimonides believed using positive terms , did not do god justice. These response concerned all areas of Jewish life from religious philosophical problems , questions of faith , matters dealing with Jewish law and to explanations of complex Torah passages . The guide for the perplexed consoled Jews by reminding them that all past and present suffering were focused by the prophets and they would continue to be indestructible He reaffirmed hope in messiah to redeem all the Jews fro their suffering The second book seeks to find harmony and agreement as well as differentiation into Jewish theology and the opinions views and thoughts of the great Greek philosopher, while the third book looks at the (previously forbidden) Merkabah section of the book of Ezekiel. It covers 613 laws of the Pentateuch (first five books of the bible ) and presents an explanation for each one.

* Analyse the impact of Moses Maimonides on the expression of Judaism ? * Maimonides works were met with opposition during his lifetime he has since been recognized as one of the most foremost Jewish thinkers and philosophers . His works are considered a cornerstone for Orthodox Jewish thought and study and his ideas are still extensively discussed by Jewish scholars . *

* So profound was his impact , Jewish Scholars in the years that followed were catergorised as “maimonideans ” or “anti maimonideans” . The most significant analysis of his work was undertaken by the fourteenth centaury Jewish scholar , Hasdai Crescas, who completely disproved Maimonides acceptance of the Aristotelian worldview. Regardless of this , Maimonides views and values today are widely held , even compulsory , among many modern Jews. *

* The commentary of the Mishnah , particularly the introduction is still quoted. The 13 articles of faith are held as the cornerstone of belief for many Jews and appear in many prayer books, although the reform movement tends to place less empathies on the creed . *

* The Mishnah Torah became a standard guide for the Jewish practice . It served as the model for Shulkhan Arukh , the sixteenth century code of Jewish law that is still regarded as authoritative by Orthodox Jews. *

* The guide to the perplexed has proven immensely significant to Jewish philosophers such as Leo Strauss. The responsa played a significant role in the development of Jewish legal practice and thought and are important texts in Jewish literature today.

* To this day, Maimonides and the French Jewish sage , are the most widely studied Jewish scholars .

Protestor : against the roman catholic churches practices

Reform : to a new way of worship and religious leadership (contribution) Counter reformation: The roman catholic response is the renew from within

Martin : “I have no faith in the pope, he trusts in the bible alone” * Luther questions Luther’s infallibility (can never be wrong)

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