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By David Hartman / Jewish Publication Society / 2009
A 12th-century rabbi, scholar, physician, and philosopher, Moses Maimonides is best known for his two great works on Judaism: Mishneh Torah and Guide to the Perplexed. They have often been viewed by scholars as having different audiences and different messages, together reflecting the two sides of the author himself: Maimonides the halakhist, who focused on piety through obedience to Jewish law; and Maimonides the philosopher, who advocated closeness with God through reflection and knowledge of nature. David Hartman argues that while many scholars look at one aspect of Maimonides to the exclusion or dismissal of the other, the way to really understand him is to see both adherence to the law and philosophical pursuits as two essential aspects of Judaism. This expanded edition contains a new postscript by Hartman that sheds new light on his argument and indeed on Judaism as Maimonides interpreted it.
David Hartman is founder of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, a center for the study of classical Jewish sources and of contemporary Israeli and Jewish issues. He is the author of A Living Covenant: The Innovative Spirit in Traditional Judaism and Israelis and the Jewish Tradition: An Ancient People Debating Its Future. Dr. Hartman received his rabbinical ordination from Yeshiva University and his Ph.D. in philosophy from McGill University.