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Maimonides divides these laws into 14 sections—the same as in his Mishneh Torah. Having culminated with the commandments , Maimonides concludes the work with the notion of the perfect and harmonious life, founded on the correct worship of God. The possession of a correct philosophy underlying Judaism as outlined in the Guide is seen as being an essential aspect in true wisdom. While many Jewish communities revered Maimonides' work and viewed it as a triumph, others deemed many of its ideas heretical. The Guide was often banned, and in some occasions, even burned.

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In particular, the adversaries of Maimonides' Mishneh Torah declared war against the "Guide. Likewise, some most famously Rabbi Abraham ben David , known as the RaBad objected to Maimonides' raising the notion of the incorporeality of God as a dogma , claiming that great and wise men of previous generations held a different view. In modern-day Jewish circles, controversies regarding Aristotelian thought are significantly less heated, and, over time, many of Maimonides' ideas have become authoritative. As such, the book is seen as a legitimate and canonical, if somewhat abstruse, religious masterpiece.

The Guide had great influence in Christian thought, both Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus making extensive use of it: the negative theology contained in it also influenced mystics such as Meister Eckhart. It was also read and commented on in Islamic circles, and remains in print in Arab countries.


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By Maimonides' own design, most readers of the Guide have come to the conclusion that his beliefs were orthodox, i. He wrote that his Guide was addressed to only a select and educated readership, and that he is proposing ideas that are deliberately concealed from the masses. He writes in the introduction A sensible man should not demand of me, or hope that when we mention a subject, we shall make a complete exposition of it. My object in adopting this arrangement is that the truths should be at one time apparent and at another time concealed.

Thus we shall not be in opposition to the Divine Will from which it is wrong to deviate which has withheld from the multitude the truths required for the knowledge of God, according to the words, 'The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him Psalm '. Marvin Fox comments on this:. It is one of the mysteries of our intellectual history that these explicit statements of Maimonides, together with his other extensive instructions on how to read his book, have been so widely ignored.

No author could have been more open in informing his readers that they were confronting no ordinary book. In his introduction to the Guide Maimonides speaks repeatedly of the "secret" doctrine that must be set forth in a way appropriate to its secret character. Rabbinic law, to which Maimonides as a loyal Jew is committed, prohibits any direct, public teaching of the secrets of the Torah. One is permitted to teach these only in private to selected students of proven competence It would seem that there is no way to write such a book without violating rabbinic law Yet at times it is urgent to teach a body of sound doctrine to those who require it The problem is to find a method for writing such book in a way that does not violate Jewish law while conveying its message successfully to those who are properly qualified According to Fox, Maimonides carefully assembled the Guide "so as to protect people without a sound scientific and philosophical education from doctrines that they cannot understand and that would only harm them, while making the truths available to students with the proper personal and intellectual preparation.

Aviezer Ravitzky writes:. Those who upheld a radical interpretation of the secrets of the Guide, from Joseph Caspi and Moses Narboni in the 14th century to Leo Strauss and Shlomo Pines in the 20th, proposed and developed tools and methods for the decoding of the concealed intentions of the Guide. Can we already find the roots of this approach in the writings of Samuel ben Judah ibn Tibbon , a few years after the writing of the Guide?

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Ibn Tibbon's comments reveal his general approach toward the nature of the contradictions in the Guide: The interpreter need not be troubled by contradiction when one assertion is consistent with the "philosophic view" whereas the other is completely satisfactory to "men of religion". Such contradictions are to be expected, and the worthy reader will know the reason for them and the direction they tend to The correct reading of the Guide's chapters should be carried out in two complementary directions: on the one hand, one should distinguish each chapter from the rest, and on the other one should combine different chapters and construct out of them a single topic.

Again, on the one hand, one should get to the bottom of the specific subject matter of each chapter, its specific "innovation", an innovation not necessarily limited to the explicit subject matter of the chapter. On the other hand, one should combine scattered chapters which allude to one single topic so as to reconstruct the full scope of the topic.

The original version of the Guide was written in Judaeo-Arabic. The first Hebrew translation titled Moreh Nevukhim was written in by a contemporary of Maimonides, Samuel ben Judah ibn Tibbon in southern France. This Hebrew edition has been used for many centuries. A new, modern edition of this translation was published in by Feldheim Publishers.

Another translation, less diffused at the time but today considered superior by some, was that of Judah al-Harizi.

Joseph Abrahams and Reverend H. Gollancz, dates from It was originally published in a three volume edition with footnotes. In it was republished in a less expensive one volume edition, without footnotes, with revisions. The second edition is still in use today, sold through Dover Publications. Another translation to English was made by Chaim Rabin in , also published in an abridged edition. The most popular English translation is the two volume set The Guide of the Perplexed , translated by Shlomo Pines , with an extensive introductory essay by Leo Strauss , published in A new modern Hebrew translation has been written by Prof.

Michael Schwartz, professor emeritus of Tel Aviv University 's departments of Jewish philosophy and Arabic language and literature. The earliest complete Judeo-Arabic copy of Maimonides' Guide for the Perplexed , copied in Yemen in , was found in the India Office Library and added to the collection of the British Library in The manuscript has an introduction written by Samuel ben Judah ibn Tibbon , and is nearly complete, with the exception of a lacuna between two of its pages.

Containing a total of pages, written in two columns of 23 lines to a column, with illuminations, the manuscript has been described by David Solomon Sassoon in his Descriptive Catalogue of the Hebrew and Samaritan Manuscripts in the Sassoon Library.

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Neubauer in his Catalogue of Hebrew Manuscripts. Two Leyden manuscripts cod. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the 12th-century book by Maimonides. For the book by E. Schumacher, see A Guide for the Perplexed. This article includes a list of references , but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations.

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Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations. View this item in full via our Digitised Manuscripts website.

Public Domain in most countries other than the UK. Using a varied collection of Hebrew manuscripts, Dr Ilana Tahan explores the illumination of Jewish biblical manuscripts, looking at the religious grounds for artistic expression in the Bible, and the differences in styles between manuscripts produced in the Near East and those in Europe.

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Information Description Guide for the Perplexed is a philosophical work by Moses ben Maimon, known as Maimonides — Full title: Moreh nevukhim by Maimonides Created: c. This item is featured in: Discovering Sacred Texts. Explore further Related articles. Illumination of Jewish biblical texts Article by: Ilana Tahan Themes: Judaism, Illuminated texts Using a varied collection of Hebrew manuscripts, Dr Ilana Tahan explores the illumination of Jewish biblical manuscripts, looking at the religious grounds for artistic expression in the Bible, and the differences in styles between manuscripts produced in the Near East and those in Europe.

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