Necessity and the Law

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

Necessity and the Law

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Maimonides ties belief in the eternity of the world to belief in the world's necessity. This chapter discusses the problems with this connection and considers why Maimonides thought them corollaries of each other. However, since Maimonides uses the premise that the world is eternal in his proofs for God's existence, he seems to side with the view that creation is indeed necessary. The chapter explains why Maimonides’ argument is consistent with his explicit view and remains valid. It then moves to consider why Maimonides thought that necessity and, by implication, eternity pose a problem, arguing that the key issues bear on the ramifications for God's knowledge, which, in turn, bears on the limitations of human knowledge. He therefore argues from those other issues, on which the law holds a definite view, to creation. He is only able to do so if the law's overall theological vision is coherent.

Keywords: creation; necessity; eternity; limits of knowledge; coherence

Chapter.  5426 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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