Science in the Bet Midrash explores the religious thought of Moses Maimonides (1138–1204), one of the most influential Jews of the last thousand years. While covering many aspects of his religious philosophy, these essays focus on the way Maimonides elucidated and expressed the universalistic thrust of the Jewish tradition. Maimonides construed the election of Israel as a challenge, not an endowment. This challenge is ultimately addressed to all human beings, not just to Jews.
About the Author
Born and educated in the United States, Menachem Kellner (Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis, 1973) has lived in Israel for the last 30 years. Author, editor, or translator of 16 books and over 100 scholarly articles, Kellner’s most recent books include Science in the Bet Midrash and Maimonides’ Confrontation with Mysticism (2006).
Table of ContentsBy Way of Personal Introduction. Acknowledgements. PART ONE: APPROACHES TO THE STUDY OF MAIMONIDES. Introduction to Part One, Approaches to the Study of Maimonides. 1. Reading Rambam – Approaches to the Interpretation of Maimonides. 2. Strauss’ Maimonides vs. Maimonides’ Maimonides: Could Maimonides have been both Enlightened and Orthodox? 3. The Literary Character of the Mishneh Torah: On the Art of Writing in Maimonides’ Halakhic Works. 4. Is Maimonides’ Ideal Person Austerely Rationalist? PART TWO: RELIGIOUS FAITH AND DOGMA. Introduction to Part Two, Religious Faith and Dogma. 5. Heresy and the Nature of Faith in Medieval Jewish Philosophy. 6. What is Heresy? 7. Maimonides’ Thirteen Principles and the Structure of the Guide of the Perplexed. 8. Maimonides, Crescas, and Abravanel on Ex. 20:2: A Medieval Jewish Exegetical Dispute. 9. Could Maimonides Get into Rambam’s Heaven? 10. Returning the Crown to its Ancient Glory: Marc Shapiro’s The Limits of Orthodox Theology: Maimonides’ Thirteen Principles Reappraised. 11. The Virtue of Faith. PART THREE: SCIENCE AND TORAH. Introduction to Part Three, Science and Torah. 12. On the Status of the Astronomy and Physics in Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah and Guide of the Perplexed: A Chapter in the History of Science. 13. Maimonides on the Science of the Mishneh Torah: Provisional or Permanent? 14. Maimonides’ Allegiances to Science and Judaism. 15. Faith, Science, and Orthodoxy. PART FOUR: UNIVERSALISM. Introduction to Part Four, Universalism. 16. Chosenness, Not Chauvinism: Maimonides on the Chosen People. 17. Was Maimonides Truly Universalist? 18. Maimonides’ True Religion – for Jews, or All Humanity? 19. Spirituality and a Life of Holiness –How One Lives a Holy Life and Who Can Do It. 20. Epilogue. Works Cited. Index.