Flashcards in Judaism Depth Study: Moses Maimonidies Deck (12)
"From Moses to Moses, there has been nobody like Moses."
"All are obliged to fix a time for Torah study by day and by night." - Mishneh Torah
"To think deeply is to imitate God and leads to true holiness."
Outline Moses' background.
Born & first lived in Spain in the Golden Age when Jews, Christians & Muslims lived in peace. When this ended, fled to Egypt.
Family Rabbinic scholars; he studied thus until financially impossible. Then studied to be a doctor, & became famous.
Moses' other beliefs
Influenced by all Semitic faiths having been brought up in acceptance of them.
Influenced by writings & philosophy of Aristotle & Greeks.
Religious rationalist - believed it possible to reconcile religion, science & philosophy. Saw no contradiction between truth revealed by science & by God.
Wished to sustain faith of Jews. Wanted all to be truly Jewish through Torah study - wrote to simplify it.
Rejected literal translation of Talmud. Did not believe in blind faith; one must seek understanding to profess true faith.
Rejected anthropomorphism: "Giving our own qualities to God limits our concept of what God is, and only represents human experience."
What contribution through writings did Moses give?
1. Commentary on the Mishnah - inc. 13 Articles of Faith
2. Mishneh Torah - code of Jewish law; easy to understand for everyday people.
3. Guide for the Perplexed - philosophical work for scholars
4. Letter to the Jews in Yemen - supportive letter for oppressed Jews.
He both expressed Judaism simply for everyday people, and represented it as an intellectual faith.
What contribution to the Development of Judaism?
Reconciled Judaism with Greek philosophy & science.
Believed Torah needed interpretation, not literal acceptance.
Codified Jewish writings, made accessible to many.
What contribution to the expression of Judaism?
Guide for the Perplexed - Judaism in an intellectual & philosophical way.
13 Article of Faith - expression of what to do now.
Jewish writings easily accessible to many - wanted Jews to be really Jewish.
What impact did Moses have in his own time?
Sustained faith of scattered Jewish communities esp. under oppressive rule or faced with challenging classical philosophy.
Jews received greater respect - writings influenced other religions.
Codification of Talmud - Jews more easily behave within expectations of Halachah.
What impact has Moses had after his time to now?
Writings inspired discussion & debate. Not always agreed with, but never ignored.
Attempts to reconcile tradition & philosophy sought by many - seeking faith by reason.
Radical ideas of resurrection (Aristotle) now accepted in mainstream Judaism.
Guide for the Perplexed - foundation for later writings
13 Article of Faith - part of Jewish prayer book.
Quote on Environmental Ethics
"All the other beings have been created for their own sakes, and not for the sake of something else."