Maimonides, Spinoza and Us: Toward an Intellectually Vibrant Judaism

Maimonides, Spinoza and Us: Toward an Intellectually Vibrant Judaism

by Marc D. Angel
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

A challenging look at two great Jewish philosophers, and what their thinking means to our understanding of God, truth, revelation and reason.

Moses Maimonides (1138–1204) is Jewish history's greatest exponent of a rational, philosophically sound Judaism. He strove to reconcile the teachings of the Bible and rabbinic tradition with the principles

…  See more details below

Overview

A challenging look at two great Jewish philosophers, and what their thinking means to our understanding of God, truth, revelation and reason.

Moses Maimonides (1138–1204) is Jewish history's greatest exponent of a rational, philosophically sound Judaism. He strove to reconcile the teachings of the Bible and rabbinic tradition with the principles of Aristotelian philosophy, arguing that religion and philosophy ultimately must arrive at the same truth.

Baruch Spinoza (1632–77) is Jewish history’s most illustrious "heretic." He believed that truth could be attained through reason alone, and that philosophy and religion were separate domains that could not be reconciled. His critique of the Bible and its teachings caused an intellectual and spiritual upheaval whose effects are still felt today.

Rabbi Marc D. Angel discusses major themes in the writings of Maimonides and Spinoza to show us how modern people can deal with religion in an intellectually honest and meaningful way. From Maimonides, we gain insight on how to harmonize traditional religious belief with the dictates of reason. From Spinoza, we gain insight into the intellectual challenges which must be met by modern believers.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Many books and articles are devoted to the biographies and ideas of the two great Jewish philosophers, Maimonides (1138–1204) and Spinoza (1632–1677). Angel comes up with the laudable notion of comparing and contrasting their views in a single volume. This is a bold venture, since he is an Orthodox rabbi and his predecessors in the Amsterdam Jewish community excommunicated Spinoza as a heretic in 1656, just two years after the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue was founded in New Amsterdam (now New York). Angel, born into Seattle’s Sephardic community, became the New York synagogue’s rabbi in 1969 and now serves as rabbi emeritus. Although he is respectful of many notions advocated by Spinoza, Angel makes clear his preference for the thinking of Maimonides. He explores what each of them had to say about faith, reason, God, Torah, superstition, and the relationship between Jews and non-Jews, invariably advocating the positions espoused by Maimonides. This thoughtful presentation will appeal to everyone interested in religion, Judaism, theology, and philosophy. (Dec.)
From the Publisher

"Clever and insightful…. Sketches a Maimonidean approach to Judaism essential for Jews who are attracted to Torah but unwilling to turn off their brains. Based upon studious research and profound knowledge [yet] presented with a light hand and in an engaging manner."
Professor Menachem Kellner, Department of Jewish History and Thought, University of Haifa; author, Must a Jew Believe Anything?

"An intriguing and extended conversation between three voices: Maimonides, Spinoza, and Rabbi Marc Angel, an increasingly influential voice for openness and inclusivity in the contemporary Jewish community…. A fascinating attempt to bridge the centuries!"
Rabbi Neil Gillman, PhD, emeritus professor of Jewish thought, The Jewish Theological Seminary; author, Doing Jewish Theology: God, Torah and Israel in Modern Judaism

“Makes the thought of Maimonides and Spinoza on vital topics of contemporary religious import accessible to readers with characteristic clarity and erudition. [Anyone] interested in achieving a mature and intellectually honest religious faith will be entranced and educated by the dialogue and concerns this uncharacteristically open Orthodox rabbi presents in this engaging book.”
Rabbi David Ellenson, PhD, president, Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781580235440
Publisher:
Longhill Partners
Publication date:
11/16/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
884,193
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author

Rabbi Marc D. Angel, PhD, is founder and director of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals (www.jewishideas.org). Rabbi emeritus of Congregation Shearith Israel of New York City, he is author and editor of twenty-nine books, including Maimonides, Spinoza and Us: Toward an Intellectually Vibrant Judaism; Foundations of Sephardic Spirituality: The Inner Life of Jews of the Ottoman Empire (both finalists for the National Jewish Book Award); The Rhythms of Jewish Living: A Sephardic Expoloration of Judaism's Spirituality (all Jewish Lights); and Maimonides—Essential Teachings on Jewish Faith and Ethics: The Book of Knowledge and the Thirteen Principles of Faith—Annotated & Explained (SkyLight Paths).

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >