Maimonides’ Counting of the Commandments

Reuven Firestone

in Holy War in Judaism

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199860302
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950621 | DOI:
Maimonides’ Counting of the Commandments

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This chapter treats the generally meagre discussion among medieval Jews about holy war. While little is added to the discussion outside of Maimonides, that great medieval polymath develops a universal Jewish theory of war patterned after the universal Muslim theories of war that were issues of discussion in his environment under the Caliphate. He portrays biblical wars against the Canaanites and Amalekites as a reflection of the divine will to bring all humanity to right religion rather than for Israel to take possession of the Land. In fact, in Maimonides Book of Commandments, he fails to include conquest of the Land of Israel despite what appears to be repeated divine directives to do so. The commandment to conquer and settle the Land of Israel is not operative in the time of Exile after the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple.

Keywords: Rashi; Maimonides; Book of Commandments; Mishneh Torah; Guide to the Perplexed; Noahides; Noahide Laws

Chapter.  8404 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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