- Series: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization
- Paperback: 364 pages
- Publisher: Littman Library Of Jewish Civilization; 1 edition (February 2, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1906764158
- ISBN-13: 978-1906764159
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.2 x 6.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #602,794 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Maimonides' Confrontation with Mysticism (The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization) 1st Edition
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About the Author
Menachem Kellner is Professor of Jewish Thought at the University of Haifa. He is the author of Dogma in Medieval Jewish Thought and Maimonides' Confrontation with Mysticism and translator of Isaac Abravanel's Principles of Faith, all published by the Littman Library of Jewish Civilization. He
is also the author of Maimonides on Human Perfection, Maimonides on Judaism and the Jewish People, and Maimonides on the 'Decline of the Generations' and the Nature of Rabbinic Authority. His translations of Gersonides' Commentary on Song of Songs and Maimonides' Book of Love appeared in the Yale
Judaica Series. Professor Kellner's critical editions of the original texts of Abravanel's Principles of Faith and of Gersonides' Commentary on Song of Songs were published in Hebrew.
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The only criticism I have is that Kellner's excellent analysis is kept isolated in the context of its time period, and his discerning ideas are not developed into how the fundamental clash of ideologies developed over time, particularly how that clash manifests itself today.
Dr. Kellner is quite thorough in discussing the major points of contention with regards to Rambam and mystic mythology in areas such as God vs. Man, Jew vs. Non-Jew, the land of Yisrael, Prophecy, the Hebrew language, etc. The footnotes were quite interesting and provide a springboard for future reading and education.
I appreciate Dr. Kellner's openess to discussing other researcher's thoughts and opinions and where he agrees and diagrees with them.
I was introduced to Dr. Kellner by way of Rabbi Israel Drazin's books and comments. I plan on reading more of Dr. Kellner's books.
As an Orthodox Jew, I am quite excited and encouraged that other Jews believe as I do, see science and mathematics as a means of understanding creation and HaShem's ways (I'm an engineer), and value logic and reasoning as the way to live life while pursuing moral perfection through the Torah.
Thank you, Dr. Kellner. Kol HaKavod!
The second example is the Hebrew language, which Maimonides views as conventional (and not that different from other languages), with the exception that it is called the "holy tongue" since it does not contain vulgar words or refer directly to human functions, but uses euphemisms to convey a point. Maimonides doesn't ascribe a magical function to the Hebrew language, in which one can effect change in the material and supernal worlds using the various mystical names of G-d. The proto-kabbalist view does ascribe such a magical function to the Hebrew language.
The gulf between Maimonides' perspective and the normative religious perspective of his day was significant as these two examples suggest. This is not surprising since he viewed the normative religious viewpoint as having been tainted with superstitious and erroneous beliefs, and his goal was to rectify these errors by championing a vision of Judaism that would lead the individual to a true understanding of the Torah and hence, spiritual perfection.