A Guide to The Guide to the Perplexed: A Reader’s …

A Guide to The Guide to the Perplexed: A Reader’s …



In this volume, noted philosopher Lenn E. Goodman shares the insights gained over a lifetime of pondering the meaning and purpose of Maimonides’ celebrated Guide to the Perplexed. Written in the late twelfth century, Maimonides’ Guide aims to help religiously committed readers who are alive to the challenges posed by reason and the natural sciences to biblical and rabbinic tradition. Keyed to the new translation and commentary by Lenn E. Goodman and Phillip I. Lieberman, this volume follows Maimonides’ life and learning and delves into the text of the Guide, clearly explaining just what Maimonides means by identifying the Talmudic Ma’aseh Bereshit and Ma’aseh Merkavah with physics and metaphysics (to Maimonides, biblical cosmology and theology). Exploring Maimonides’ treatments of revelation, religious practice and experience, law and ritual, the problem of evil, and the rational purposes of the commandments, this guide to the Guide explains the tactics Maimonides deployed to ensure that readers not get in over their heads when venturing into philosophical deep waters.

About the author

Lenn E. Goodman is Professor of Philosophy and Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Vanderbilt University.

“With complete mastery of the source languages, professional knowledge of ancient and medieval philosophies, yet equally at home in contemporary philosophical discourse, Lenn E. Goodman is uniquely qualified to present an authoritative survey of Maimonides’ achievement. His fluid and eloquent writing delivers Maimonides’ deliberations and decisions in a manner accessible to a wide audience.”

—Tzvi Langermann, Bar-Ilan University

“The learning deployed in this book—historical, philosophic, and linguistic—is extraordinary. Guiding one through a brilliant, notoriously difficult text with grace and clarity, this book is a must-read for anyone wanting to learn about Maimonides’ life and what he sought to accomplish in the Guide to the Perplexed.”

—Kenneth Seeskin, Northwestern University

“It is no small feat for a book on Maimonides to smoothly blend all these elements: an absorbing biographical narrative, incisive readings of texts, historical context, cultural associations, and an appreciation of Maimonides’ perennial relevance—all in an elegant and engaging style. Lenn E. Goodman is indeed a skilled guide to the Guide, and to the man who wrote it.”

—David Shatz, Yeshiva University



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