Interpreting Maimonides in His Multiple Contexts

Daniel Davies

in Method and Metaphysics in Maimonides' Guide for the Perplexed

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199768738
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918980 | DOI:

Series: AAR Reflection and Theory in the Study of Religion Series

Interpreting Maimonides in His Multiple Contexts

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After introducing Maimonides' life and works, this chapter considers discussions about the nature of the Guide. It combines recent developments in scholarship that have increasingly emphasized the Guide's exegetical goals and dialectical methods. However, it argues that Maimonides' reasons for using dialectic do not account for all that is claimed. To what extent is dialectic used? And to what extent does it fail to explain the Guide? Dialectic is used for pedagogical reasons, to imitate oral teaching, and for philosophical reasons. However, it does not explain the kind of esoteric writing that is peculiar to the Guide. As is shown by a close examination of parts of Maimonides' introduction, that is to be found in the way in which Maimonides employs divergent and contradictory statements in order to provide a commentary on scripture in an idiom appropriate to his own time.

Keywords: contradictions; dialectic; exegesis; scripture; oral teaching; pedagogy

Chapter.  10056 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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