The Legacy of Maimonides
Religion, Reason and Community
800th Anniversary Commemorative Collection

320 pages, $26.95
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Edited by Yamin Levy and Shalom Carmy

Rabbi Moses Maimonides (1135-1204), known as Rambam, is widely known as a profound philosopher and authoritative legal scholar. However, Rambamís contributions are not merely remnants of medieval scholarship but a vibrant legacy that gives compelling guidance in modern manís spiritual search. In this book, leading scholars present surveys of Rambamís thinking and his impact on Judaism, and apply Rambamís approach to various issues of critical contemporary importance.

The opening essay in the book is by the late Professor Isadore Twersky, dean of intellectual historians working on Rambam, and himself a role model for the combination of Torah and academic scholarship. His subject is the growth of Rambamís reputation and his impact on later Torah scholarship. Rabbi Norman Lamm, for so many years a productive scholar and leader of American Orthodoxy, discusses a question central to religious lifeóthe love of Godódrawing on Rambamís halakhic works and the Guide. Professor Arthur Hyman, who occupies a prominent place among contemporary interpreters of Maimonidesí philosophy, surveys, with his customary concision and clarity, the broad options in the academic scholarship of the 20th century.

Contributions by Shalom Carmy and David Berger focus on critical questions regarding the ongoing implications of certain Maimonidean doctrines. Rabbi Carmyís article offers a defense of Rambamís robust approach to dogma. Dr. Berger explores present day utilizations of Rambamís naturalistic teachings about the messianic age. The late educator and scholar Rabbi Norman Frimer depicts Rambamís influence as a role model for intellectual searchers. His son, the legal scholar Dov Frimer, turns to the details of Rambamís jurisprudence, and produces some unexpected conclusions regarding the halakhic status of non-Jews. Roslyn Weiss devotes her paper to a detailed examination of one text in the introduction to the Guide, communicating the exhilaration of such microscopic study and its more systematic pertinence.

Yamin Levyís essay looks at the general relationship between Rambamís championing of rational thought and the kind of community it fosters. Hayyim Angel surveys many of Rambamís discussions pertinent to Biblical exegesis and their abiding importance for our own study of Tanakh. Elimelekh Polinsky deals with a specific area, honor and respect for parents. His essay, too, exemplifies the integrated study of Rambamís Halakhah and his philosophy. The essays by Moshe Sokolow and Gerald Blidstein expand the scope of the book. Sokolow demonstrates the significant issues tackled by Rambam in his epistles. Blidstein, much admired for his three analytic and historical monographs on specific topics in Maimonidesí jurisprudence, discusses the idea of Oral Law in Rambam. David Shatz aptly closes the volume with an analysis of the last chapters in the Guide, casting new light on Rambamís view of human nature, the role of the mitzvot and the goal of human existence, while demonstrating yet again the necessity of painstaking microscopic analysis of the text and its literary organization.


Inside the Book

Table of Contents
Some Reflections on the Historical Image of Maimonides: An Essay on
   His Unique Place in History
Maimonides on the Love of God
Interpreting Maimonides
The Sovereignty of Dogma: Rambam and/or the Mishnah
Maimonidesí Rationalist Approach to the Messianic Era and its
   Ironic Results
Maimonides: A Man for All Ages
Israel, the Noahide Laws and Maimonides: Jewish-Gentile Legal Relations
   in Maimonidean Thought
Four Parables about Peshat as Parable
Maimonides on Creating an Inclusive Community
Rambamís Continued Impact on Underlying Issues in Tanakh Study
Parent-Child Relationships and Taíamei ha-Mizvot in Rambam
Rambam: A Man of Letters
Oral Law as Institution in Maimonides
Worship, Corporeality, and Human Perfection: A Reading of Guide of the
   Perplexed
, III:51-54
Isadore Twersky

Norman Lamm
Arthur Hyman
Shalom Carmy
David Berger

Norman Frimer
Dov Frimer

Roslyn Weiss
Yamin Levy
Hayyim Angel
Elimelekh Polinsky
Moshe Sokolow
Gerald Blidstein
David Shatz

Excerpts

Not Yet Available


About the Author

Rabbi Yamin Levy (Google him) is academic director of Sephardic Studies at Yeshiva University and the founder of the Maimonides Heritage Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to perpetuating Torat HaRambam to the lay public. He is author of internationally acclaimed Confronting the Loss of a Baby: A Personal and Halakhic Perspective, and Journey Through Grief: A Sephardic Manual on Death and Bereavement as well as numerous articles on Tanakh and Jewish Law.


Rabbi Shalom Carmy is a Tenured Professor of Jewish Studies and Jewish Philosophy at Yeshiva University. He is a prominent Modern Orthodox theologian, historian and philosopher. He received his B.A. and M.S. from Yeshiva University, and received his rabbinic ordination from its affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. Rabbi Carmy has written many articles; he is the editor of Tradition: A Journal of Orthodox Thought, of Modern Scholarship in the Study of Torah: Contributions and Limitations, as well as several other works.



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