However, a biography should give insight into the person not just his writings or his world. In his Book of Knowledge Maimonides discussed topics in ethics. Thomas Aquinas, whose great synthesis of the Catholic faith with the philosophy of Aristotle was likewise attacked in his lifetime. Kraemer has zero ability to summarize, storytell, or discern which details are relevant. His life, career, and writings are the highest expression of the intertwined worlds of Judaism and Islam. While monarchs raised armies to fight the groups, commerce between the groups flourished and religious scholars shared spiritual and intellectual ideas.
The best portions of Kraemer's book are those in which he discusses Maimonides's voluminous works, especially the Commentary on the Mishna, the Mishneh Torah, and the Guide of the Perplexed. He moved fluidly in both Islamic and Jewish worlds. Political and personal details are interspersed with discussions of Maimonides's works. Stranger in a foreign land ; Commentary on the Mishnah ; Saladin and the Ayyubids ; The great Rav in Israel ; Epistle to Yemen ; Moses and David -- pt. Skillfully, he weaves excerpts from the writings into the biography.
I must see him daily at the beginning of the day. He formulated the thirteen principles of the Jewish faith. Maimonides's reputation rests largely upon his writings. Maimonides lived in tumultuous times, at the peak of the Reconquista in Spain and the Crusades in Palestine. For this I found reading the book on a kindle enabled instantaneous definitions of the frequent unfa Interesting Content in a Difficult Volume This book has a way of taking the reader back to the 12th century and provides some very interesting content including translations of original documents that have survived all of these centuries. One learns more than one needs to know about details like the number of biblical citations in the first book of the Mishneh Torah; by contrast, complex philosophical and rhetorical themes e. Kraemer adduces numerous quotes from all his major writings, letters, and supporting material, so that one can glean a beginning understanding of the principles and issues that occupied Maimonides' thought, even without much prior background.
Posted on Category: Categories ,. Córdoba ; Andalusian Jewish culture ; Early studies ; Early writings -- pt. On a related theme, Maimonides was a polymath and a renaissance figure who mastered medicine, the sciences, and logic as well as Jewish philosophy and law. His family intermingled with Muslim neighbors, and like other learned Jews, was deeply conversant with Arabic philosophy and literature. In time, he became unofficial head of the traditional Jewish community, which flourished under his leadership, as well as the foremost rabbinic authority of a large sector of medieval Jewry ranging from Provence to Yemen.
So the book is chock full of useful factoids but has no overarching structure. Already during his own time, Maimonides attained a larger-than-life stature among both adoring followers and vigorous critics. This work went far in the attempt to create a Judaism based upon rationalism. Thus, the opening book of the Mishneh Torah asserts that the philosophical quest is mandated by the most fundamental of Jewish commandments: belief in God, love and fear of God, prayer, and study of Torah. In lucid language, with compelling logic and meticulous organization, Maimonides presented a new, authoritative statement of the whole corpus of normative teachings—derived at once from Scripture and from centuries of subsequent embellishment and interpretation—that regulated the totality of Jewish life.
The author also discusses the Torah, The Writings, and the Prophets quite frequently. His monumental compendium of Jewish law, the Mishneh Torah, became a basis of all subsequent Jewish legal codes and brought him recognition as one of the foremost lawgivers of humankind. Then, from approximately 1185 to 1191, he proceeded to compose, in Arabic, his Guide of the Perplexed. The plus side of this book is that it is very accessible. David died during a shipwreck taking much of the wealth of Maimonides's family with him. His extensive medical works are only now appearing in critical editions of medieval Hebrew and Latin translations. Instead I found a turgid, uninteresting recitation of life details.
Maimonides also influenced René Descartes 1596-1650 and Baruch de Spinoza 1632-1677. His avocation becomes a vocation. This authoritative biography of Moses Maimonides, one of the most influential minds in all of human history, illuminates his life as a philosopher, physician, and lawgiver. Nonetheless, I learned much about this great man and his work that I did not know previously. It seemed to me that all three religions embedded mores of the culture into their religions.
An early chapter revisits the controversial thesis, dating back to the 18th century, that Maimonides outwardly submitted to a forced conversion to Islam in his youth. The discourse of Plato, the teacher of Aristotle, in his books and compositions, contain enigmas and parables and are also superfluous for an intelligent man; for the books of his pupil Aristotle cover all that was composed previously. An early chapter revisits the controversial thesis, dating back to the 18th century, that Maimonides outwardly submitted to a forced conversion to Islam in his youth. Maimonides felt keenly the astringent criticisms directed at Judaism by the famous Córdoban jurist, theologian and poet Ibn Hazm pp. I give this book the full 5 stars for the author's achievement in bringing all this together. We'll see how if goes when I finish it. His works, many in original manuscripts, were uncovered in the find of the famous Cairo Geniza.