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Maimonides: The Life and World of One of Civilization's Greatest Minds Paperback – February 9, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
In January, during Interfaith Heroes Month, Daniel Buttry wrote a short tribute to the 12th-century Maimonides among 31 short profiles in his book, "Interfaith Heroes." Buttry's summary remains a pretty good snapshot of this towering figure: "Maimonides was one of the greatest Jewish thinkers ever, producing foundational philosophical works on Judaism. ... He also was known for the breadth of his thinking and scholarship. He wrote medical works in Arabic ... and he worked diligently to reconcile scientific teachings with the teachings of his faith. ... Because Maimonides was open to diversity and was knowledgeable about many different streams ... he was able to weave together ancient Greco-Roman, medieval Arab, Jewish and Western cultures while retaining clear and cogent roots in his own Jewish faith."
In short: This is a guy we need to consult today in our own period of cultural upheaval!
Dr. Joel Kraemer has spent 60 years of his own life studying Maimonides--including many years Dr. Kraemer devoted to learning the languages that Maimonides himself mastered. Fortunately, Dr. Kraemer's lifelong pursuit of the great sage has ended in the gift of this eye-opening exploration of Maimonides' life, work and wisdom.
This book could not have come at a better moment.
If you like to dive into challenging, in-depth biographies, like David McCullough's "...Read more ›
Maimonides transformed Judaism, composing its Thirteen commandments of faith. the celebrated 12th commandment, " I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the messiah, and though he tarry, i will wait daily for his coming - he entered popular consiousness. His "Guide for the Perplexed" written in Arabic and finished in 1190, further recast Judaism, offering a philosophical interpretation of the Scriptures far removed from the conventional readings of his, and our own, times.
Today, Maimonides stands for an austerely doctrinal Judaism, the severe reprimand of all forms of idolatry and the combining of Jewish learning with secular science and Aristotillean philosophy( by way of Islamic intellectuals such as Ibn Sina, Ibn Rushid and others).Read more ›
And that's pretty much it, which is a shame for someone who would have been called a Renaissance man had he been born a couple of centuries later.
Scholar, philosopher, doctor, astronomer, poet: Maimonides apparently mastered many disciplines during his lifetime. I say "apparently" because, as well researched as Joel L. Kramer's new biography obviously is, something seems to be lacking. He spends much more time on "the world" aspect and less on "the life." Despite the depth of Kraemer's epic, he acknowledges, "where there are gaps in Maimonides' life, they are often filled with legend and surmise so that his life is surrounded by myth."
Indeed, no sooner does the author mention his birth than he expounds on Cordoba and the surrounding regions, Andalusian Jewish culture and the educational methods of the day. There are gaps in the biographical data that he seeks to fill, with mixed results. Much of Maimonides's world is fascinating, as Kramer explains the day-to-day routines, the political and royal machinations, the exultations and hazards of long-distance travel.
As a Jew, Maimonides seems to have come out better than his co-religionists (although it seems he converted, as many were forced to do in those tenuous times, it was to Islam rather than Christianity).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is one of my favorite books. I have read it four times. Tremendous treasure awaits it's reader. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Cameron Keys
It seems like a pretty dry history of a great man. Then again, the others I've read haven't exactly been page turners either. Read morePublished 11 months ago by DanaNYC
I purchased the Audible version, and about 2 or so hours into it I have decided not to listen to the remaining 18 hours. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Jeffrey H. Mindich
This book differed dramatically from my expectations. Based on editorial and other reviews, I anticipated commentary about Maimonides great work, The Guide to the Perplexed. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Readsalot
Written by an author who is a scholar of languages ( the preface will remind you of Bernard Lewis's autobiography), the book relies on the writings and letters of Maimonides and at... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Keith C.
An interesting and well written and researched book about a fascinating person.
If you are all interested in this period or the history of jewish philosophy then this is... Read more