Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Maimonides: Life and Thought Paperback – June 2, 2015
Books with Buzz
"Killers of the Flower Moon" is a twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history. See more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Winner of the 2013 National Jewish Book Award in Scholarship, Jewish Book Council
Honorable Mention for the 2015 PROSE Award in Theology & Religious Studies, Association of American Publishers
One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2014
"In his rigorous and insightful study Maimonides: Life and Thought, Moshe Halbertal reintroduces readers to this rabbi-scientist, who insisted that faith should be an enterprise based on reason."--Dara Horn, Wall Street Journal
"[M]agisterial. . . . Halbertal presents a moving and detailed portrait of Maimonides's life as well as his work. . . . Maimonides is not just a titan of Jewish learning; as Halbertal shows in his timely and definitive book, he can be a surprisingly contemporary guide for our times."--David Mikics, Forward
"[Halbertal] pioneers a new path, walking the reader through the different interpretive schools and explaining what supports each one while acknowledging that Maimonides contradicts himself both across and within his many writings--at times purposefully, which inevitably leaves his readers perplexed. Halbertal is a wonderful guide, explaining how different approaches illuminate Maimonides' writings and how certain issues reverberate throughout the sage's work, returning in new forms and contexts. . . . Drawing on all of Maimonides' writings, and especially his many letters, Halbertal crafts a portrait of a refugee who never fully left home and felt the pain of exile for his entire life. . . . [An] extraordinary book."--Jay M. Harris, Foreign Affairs
"In a sea of literature about the great twelfth-century Jewish sage and philosopher, one could do no better than turn to Moshe Halbertal's single volume work on Maimonides. . . . Accessible to both scholar and interested general reader, this book should be the first work on Maimonides for an English reader to approach."--David Tesler, Association of Jewish Libraries Reviews
"If you are going to read only one book about Maimonides, make it Moshe Halbertal's stunning Maimonides. Even if you have read many other books by and about Maimonides, you have much to learn here."--Menachem Kellner, AJS Review
"Halbertal's book provides an introduction to the complexity of Maimonides's work, and should be studied by any serious Maimonides scholar."--Tamar Rudavsky, Journal of the History of Philosophy
"Maimonides, then, remains an elusive and fascinating figure: his importance is clear, but it's hard to grasp exactly what made him so important. That is why Maimonides: Life and Thought, the new study by Moshe Halbertal, is such a valuable contribution. . . . Readers who are curious about this difficult but rewarding thinker will find Maimonides: Life and Thought a thrillingly lucid introduction."--Adam Kirsch, Barnes & Noble Review
"Moshe Halbertal's Maimonides is a useful guide to the man and his work, with something to offer both novice and scholar. . . . [T]his admirable work invites us to study Moses Maimonides' writings on our own."--Mark Blitz, Weekly Standard
"Halbertal, a professor of both law and Jewish studies, is equipped to grasp the richness of Maimonides's thought, which reflects a potent blend of rabbinic expertise and philosophical acumen. . . . If Halbertal's book accomplishes nothing else but to inspire this Maimonidean approach to life and religion, then he has done his job well."--James A. Diamond, Jerusalem Post
"[S]tudying the Andalusian refugee Maimonides will be revealing and this terrific book by the philosopher Moshe Halbertal is a great place to begin."--Richard Marshall, 3ammagazine.com
"This insightful, well-written book offers a fresh perspective on Maimonides. Halbertal offers an excellent introductory overview of Maimonides's life and contributions to Jewish law, philosophy, medicine, and religious consciousness. He also makes clear how Mainmonides's personality, psychology, and evolving outlook penetrate his oeuvre. . . . The author offers a window into the self-perception of this greatest of medieval rabbinic thinkers, physicians, legalists, and theologians, and the radical transformations he sought to effect in Judaism."--Choice
"[A] valuable and impressive achievement."--Eric Shoag, Jewish Journal
"[A] brilliant tour de force."--Lawrence Kaplan, Jewish Review of Books
"In this excellent study, Moshe Halbertal makes it clear, in keeping with Maimonides, that there is no one way to understand the Jewish tradition."--Jude P. Dougherty, Mary Elizabeth Tetzlaff
"[A]n unusually comprehensive overview of Maimonides achievements."--Berel Dov Lerner, Religion & Theology
From the Back Cover
"In the gorgeous and rugged terrain of Jewish thought, there is no higher mountain to climb than Maimonides, and no more slippery or exhilarating ascent. Halbertal has made it all the way to the top, and his survey of the whole of the Maimonidean landscape is trustworthy and masterful. This is the richest and most intellectually sophisticated book on Maimonides I have ever read."--Leon Wieseltier
"In this learned and penetrating work, Halbertal offers us a Maimonides who draws on the dominant Greco-Islamic thought of his time while creating a system of thought that is fully Jewish. He shows us how the early Commentary on the Mishnah links up with the Mishneh Torah and with the Guide of the Perplexed, written at the end of his life, to form an unexpected and radical intellectual unity. Beautifully written, Maimonides brings out both Maimonides's intellectual success and the paradoxical critical approaches to him after his death."--David J. Wasserstein, Vanderbilt University
"Insightful and learned. Halbertal is perhaps the leading philosopher of Jewish law today. His book on Maimonides, like his other writings, reflects wide erudition and is written clearly and sharply."--Warren Zev Harvey, professor emeritus, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
"Displaying the marvelous depth and clarity that mark all his work, Halbertal explains in abundant detail the transformations that Maimonides sought to effect in the Jewish world. He provides incisive interpretations of both legal and philosophical writings, yet he is also a biographer, binding together Maimonides's life, self-perception, and intellectual agenda. This is an exceptionally rich book, one that offers fresh perspectives for experts and a highly accessible introduction for general readers."--David Shatz, Yeshiva University
"An outstanding and thrilling portrait of Maimonides. Halbertal's analytic lucidity and psychological depth are singular, and his talents are abundantly apparent on every page. This is an extraordinary book."--Menachem Lorberbaum, Tel Aviv University
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
While some of the sections discussing the Mishna Torah become tedious and turbid by its detail legal analysis and historic comparisons of wisdom, the later examination of the Guide to the Perplexed is stunningly clear and comprehensive. The book examines Maimonides' views on evil and its personal, legal, and biological forms; on destiny of individuals and of species; on cosmic origins; on miracles versus logic and knowledge; on divine punishment and reward for governance and social order versus personal spiritual developmental gains and blocks; and on love and awe as steps toward perfection and experiencing the divine. The medieval mind and social outlook is revealed yet the reader also finds modern thinking and connections to the later Jewish philosopher, Spinoza. I grew up hearing about Maimonides without actually knowing anything about his great writings. Halbertal fills that void with an insightful book. Maimonides now become relevant to my own religious pursuits.
The author is succinct, logical, exceedingly well organized--no doubt Maimonidean himself--and the book, in my opinion, is exquisitely sensitive to Maimon the man, as well as to the philosopher/logician/astronomer/physician. The book covers his entire life in the initial biographical chapter that is about one quarter of the book. The rest of the book is devoted to Maimonides' most significant works--his "Commentary on the Mishneh," "The Commandments," "The Mishneh Torah" and "The Guide for the Perplexed." Halbertal refers to additional compositions; however, the focus of the book is primarily reflective of these--the best, most influential, and most powerful of Maimonides' writings.
Maimonides, himself, in addition to his incredible mind, was funny, sarcastic, brash, impatient, rude; in short, he was straightforward to a fault, and had no positive sentiment for the "stupid" or the "foolish," as he referred to them. It is important to note that he was as caring and feeling about those whom he loved, as he was passionate about those whose ire he raised. The author covers all aspects of this extraordinarily gifted gentleman; not infrequently exasperating in his insistence that his way was the right and only way: At one moment, Halbertal actually refers to Maimon's behavior as that of a "harebrained amateur!" (This, to add depth of thought, and chuckles, too, regarding the most profound of all medieval thinkers).
I think one has to be a little bit peculiar to relish such a book as this--printed by Princeton, that seems to do a wonderful job of choosing its authors--because Maimonides in today's world, by many would be deemed as somewhat esoteric; even among Jews, themselves. Mr. Maimon took no prisoners when he wrote, slammed head-on into the established Jewish scholars of his day; and those with whom he took issue, all the way back to the time of the "other" Moses. Had he been burned at the stake or excommunicated, it would have been fitting, albeit so hideously wrong. However for me, being an eccentric, I fairly swoon over his principles: Provincially Jewish to the core; but grounded, developed, and enhanced by the classical thinkers of Greece, Rome, and the golden age of Islam.
I say this book "rocks."
It is at once an introduction to the magnificence of Maimonides, and it is a summation, too; depending upon the reader. For the novice such as myself, who craves information about Mr. Maimon, Halbertal's volume is superb. I would imagine that for the knowledgeable reader, "Maimonides: Life and Thought" would be a sublime refresher, synthesizer, and assistant with insightful information.
It's tough going on the one hand; I find myself wanting the primary sources. On the other, it's deliciously rich, beautifully written, not without witty similes and metaphors. It's terrific! What can I say? As for the translator (the book was originally published in 2009, in Hebrew), the 2014 (yes) English edition's eloquence is clean, fluid, and filled with fun vocabulary to delight: Three cheers for Joel Linsider!
So for me, I think "Maimonides: Life and Thought," by Moshe Halbertal, is a million times better than any Harry Potter tome; and between us, many times more spellbinding... Enjoy.