Read the guide of the perplexed by Maimonides Online


This superb abridgement and annotated translation of Maimonides' monumental work includes discussions of divine language, the scope and limits of human knowledge, cosmological doctrines concerning the creation or eternity of the world, prophecy and providence, the nature and purpose of divine law, and moral and political philosophy....

Title : the guide of the perplexed
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ISBN : 19618288
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 149 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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the guide of the perplexed Reviews

  • Roy Lotz
    2018-10-04 14:05

    This treatise has as its principal object to clarify the meaning of certain terms in the Bible.Moses Maimonides, born in 1135, was and remains the most famous Jewish theologian in history, and this is his most influential book. Well, this is a part of his most influential book; more specifically, this is about a quarter of the whole work, the other three quarters having been pruned away by the editors of this volume. This was ideal for me, dabbler that I am, especially considering that the abridgement, so far as I can tell, was made with taste and skill.The first striking aspect of this book is its accessibility. Maimonides writes simply and directly; indeed, sometimes I found the tone a bit pedestrian. The sentence I quoted above, the first sentence of the book, is quite typical of Maimonides. The work is written in the form of a (very long) letter to a perplexed pupil, broken into bite-sized chapters for easy comprehension. The only technical terms are those derived from Aristotle—essence, form, matter, etc.—which posed no problem for me.The second striking aspect of The Guide is how similar Maimonides’s intellectual approach is to that of Thomas Aquinas. Indeed, the aim of both thinkers was more or less the same: to provide a rational defense and systemization of their respective faiths. Both lean heavily on Aristotle for this task, adopting his doctrines, terms, arguments, and philosophical style.Of course this isn’t a coincidence. The attempt to harmonize Greek thought, specifically Aristotle, with religious thinking originated, I believe, with Muslim philosophers, and later spread to Europe. Maimonides himself was born in Muslim Spain (Al-Andalus), wrote in Arabic, and was clearly well read in Islamic philosophy. Later on, the works of Aristotle, translated from Greek into Arabic, entered Europe through Toledo, where they were translated from Arabic into Latin so that people like Aquinas could read them. Aquinas also read Maimonides, by the way.Thus the three Abrahamic religions were engaged in almost the same philosophical project during this time. But of course, being of different faiths, the thinkers reached different conclusions. For example, Maimonides’s conception of God is strikingly different from Aquinas's. Instead of expounding on all the different perfections of God, as does Aquinas—his omnipotence, omniscience, omnibenevolence, necessary existence—Maimonides holds that God’s essence cannot be described in any satisfactory way. In fact, Maimonides’s conception of God strongly reminded me of, and was perhaps influenced by, the Neo-Platonist conception of The One, the mystical, mysterious, ineffable fountainhead of all existence. Like Plotinus says of The One, Maimonides asserts that we cannot even attribute existence to God, since he holds that existing things are always composite, while there is nothing composite about God.But for me, Maimonides’s most interesting opinion was his explanation of rituals, worship, and animal sacrifices. As he points out, “what is the purpose of His worship, since God’s perfection is not increased even if everything He has created worships Him and apprehends Him to the utmost possible degree, nor is it at all diminished if there is nothing in existence beside Him?” For Maimonides the purpose of religious practice is not to please God through worship, but to know Him by training the mind and purifying the soul. The reason that God commanded rituals and sacrifices was only because the original Chosen People were still accustomed to idolatry, and thus they would not have accepted the true religion if they were not allowed to practice their religious customs. The rituals were, therefore, a kind of transitional device, allowing the people to turn their thoughts from idols to the true God. I found this explanation remarkable, since it anticipates the modern, historical approach to religion, while remaining within the bounds of orthodoxy.Maimonides insists that the exterior forms of a ceremony are totally irrelevant if the practitioner is not thinking of God. It is the mental state of the worshipper, not their ritual actions, that are essential. This doctrine also reminded me of Neo-Platonic mysticism, wherein the final goal is a direct knowledge of the The One through mental discipline. But Maimonides is not so straightforwardly mystical as Plotinus, as he places much more emphasis on rational argument and the holding of the correct metaphysical and theological opinions.This book was obviously not intended for me, since I am a nonbeliever, and Maimonides considers nonbelievers beneath contempt and not even worth responding to. Thus this book was of purely historical interest for me. This is, of course, not a bad thing, and indeed as a historical document it is rewarding. But I cannot say I found it an exhilarating read, since I not only disagreed with Maimonides’s conclusions but with his methods and his premises. Nevertheless, I am very glad to have read the book, if only because I have been intending to ever since my trip to Córdoba, his birthplace, and stood next to his statue in the Jewish district of that old city. Just like walking through those crooked, cobblestone streets, reading this book is a voyage in time.

  • Chelsea Ursaner
    2018-09-30 15:59

    I'll start with something good. If you are interested in linguistics then this book is for you. Hebrew is such a fascinating language where, unlike English, almost any word is up to interpretation. Maimonides explores its countless homonyms in passages that have been written about God and presents many interesting angles that I would not have thought of. Other than that though, I had problems with the book. As much as he acknowledges that we can never find absolute answers or understand the greatness of God, this acknowledgement usually comes off as empty and he seems to think he has indeed found the answers (which I suppose is why he feels he is in a position to guide the perplexed). Worse, he presents BELIEFS.. which is what they are.. about God and the universe etc. as these logical proofs that ought to be indisputable.For example, he talks at length analogizing the human body to the universe. It's interesting. But later he specifies that while "the faculty of thinking is a force inherent in the body, not separated from it, God is not a force inherent in the body of the universe... How God rules the universe and provides for it is a complete mystery: man is unable to solve it. For, on the one hand, it can be proved that God is separate from the universe, and in no contact with it; but, on the other hand, His rule and providence can be proved to exist in all parts of the universe, even in the smallest. Praised be He whose perfection is above our comprehension." What are you talking about, proved? (He does have an earlier "proof" that he's talking about but you can gather its weakness. Why can't God be a part of the universe the way our intellect is part of our body? Above our comprehension indeed.

  • Philip Jordan
    2018-09-19 13:36

    To find this amazing book was an interesting adventure. The finding was almost as intense as the wisdom gained therein... For those that wish to derive a better understanding of the Torah, and its spiritual, literal and metaphysical interpretations, then this is the read for you! You may just open the doors to YOUR relationship with God, Society & Yourself.Moses Maimonides, a Cordova born rabbi of the 12th Century AD, can be considered the "greatest Jewish thinker of the middle ages if not of all time." He was inspired by the rationalism of Aristotle and felt that the modern philosopher must learn all of the natural sciences before they can truly dive "into" the concept of God (via the Torah).Plan to read some of the 1-2 page chapters over and over again, because those fleeting paragraphs are jam packed with hidden truths and amazing wisdom.

  • Peter
    2018-10-08 13:37

    This work appears on several recommended classics lists, and since I was perplexed, I decided to delve into it. Alas, I am still perplexed. The hard cover sells for textbook prices; I recommend the soft cover or a used version—there is no need to pay top dollar for what turns out to be, in addition to some metaphysical insight, a collection of Talmud interpretations, a summary of Jewish Law and nearly one hundred pages of medieval chemistry and physics.*** SPOILER ALERT***Much is cleared away at the outset of this tome, primarily by this bunker buster: God is incorporeal; He does not have locomotion or voice, He cannot be seen with the human eye, He does not have hands or feet, He does not “sit” on a throne, and He does not have any human imperfections including the need to rest or eat, or emotions, including, of course, anger, love, angst, jealousy, or the need for revenge. (One might add by this logic that God has no gender either, so really should be referred to as “It” or “The Force” rather than “He” or perhaps, following the tradition, not even be referred to at all.) ... So why does the Torah/Old Testament include all these human characteristics of God, why is it written in “the language of man?”—so that (paraphrasing only a bit) “youth, women and common people” can understand it.You may well ask, if God does not have human imperfections such as emotion, why the anger and jealousy about idolators? Answer: because it seems God has a purpose (after all). But, and here is my first perplexity, isn’t the will to a purpose a form of human imperfection? I have found in raising children that the fastest path to anger is impatience. Impatience about what? Impatience about the lack of movement toward MY expectations, the lack of progress to realizing MY plans. I think God would be smarter than this. But of course “smart” also being a human characteristic—so it never ends. And we find in reading that even Maimonides, after his strong refutation of an anthropomorphic divinity, still cannot resist the pull of the anthropomorphic. Next issue: Does God have a hand in the world or not? The answer to this question is elided by Maimonides; there is a system of merits (there must be in order for this world/religious view to have some practical purchase), but the logic of the system, i.e., the “mind” or “purpose” of God, is admittedly unknowable. On unknowability, much ink is spilled. The story of Job is the primary teaching exhibit. The importance of secrecy in teaching about God and “His” ways is restated multiple times, e.g.: “Even the traditional Law, as you are well aware, was not originally committed to writing, in conformity with the rule to which our nation generally adhered, ‘Things which I have communicated to you orally, you must not communicate to others in writing.’ With reference to the Law, this rule was very opportune; for while it remained in force it averted evils which happened subsequently, viz., great diversity of opinion, doubts as to the meaning of written words, slips of the pen, dissensions among the people, formation of new sects, and confused notions about practical subjects. … Care having been taken, for the sake of obviating injurious influences, that the Oral Law should not be recorded in a form accessible to all, it was but natural that no portion of “the secrets of the Law” (i.e., metaphysical problems) would be permitted to be written down or divulged for the use of all men. These secrets, as has been explained, were orally communicated by a few able men to others who were equally distinguished. Hence the principle applied by our teachers, “The secrets of the Law can only be entrusted to him who is a councillor, a cunning artificer, etc.” … Nothing but a few remarks and allusions are to be found in the Talmud and the Midrashim, like a few kernels enveloped in such a quantity of husk, that the reader is generally occupied with the husk, and forgets that it encloses a kernel.”Maimonides channels the “you must feel it in your heart” of Martin Luther, but with a clubbier, “only smart people can see it.”In the section on Jewish Law we see one aspect of the Law that made Jesus angry at the Pharisees and Scribes--tribalism. According to this interpretation of the Law, while followers are under a general encouragement to be merciful to slaves and the poor, and be fair in dealing with workers, there is a clearer obligation to take care of your in-group—your family and the people who have done you favors in the past—people you have a relationship with. To this, Christ practically yells: “If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? . . . If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you?” (Luke) And of course, there is the story of the Good Samaritan.The most saddening discovery for me was finding the strains of the Prosperity Gospel here in medieval folds of the anti-Gospel: “Their mind [Moses, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob] was so identified with the knowledge of God, that He made a lasting covenant with each of them. …. and that in the same measure was Divine Providence attached to them and their descendants. When we therefore find them also, engaged in ruling others, in increasing their property, and endeavoring to obtain possession of wealth and honor, we see in this fact a proof that when they were occupied in these things, only their bodily limbs were at work, whilst their heart and mind never moved away from the name of God. I think these four [Moses, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob] reached that high degree of perfection in their relation to God, and enjoyed the continual presence of Divine Providence, even in their endeavors to increase their property, feeding the flock, toiling in the field, or managing the house, only because in all these things their end and aim was to approach God as much as possible. … Those who are perfect in their perception of God, whose mind is never separated from Him, enjoy always the influence of Providence.”And from there it’s just a few twists of logic to “God wants you to be rich and happy!”

  • Kevin
    2018-09-23 07:36

    Third most dense tome I've ever tried to slog my way through.

  • ♥ Ibrahim ♥
    2018-10-14 07:58

    Maimonides is surprisingly modern in his outlook. Apart from great and long-recognized influence on Christian theology deserves to be regarded as the greatest Jewish interpreter of the Scripture. Christians get stuck and stagnant in one one box of Scripture interpretation. But it is the Jews who gave us the Bible and who better than Jewish commentators can interpret their Scriptures for us? To Maimonides Judaism owes as much, actually more, than Western Christianity owes to St. Thomas Acquinas. His great Summa, which he called The Guide for the Perplexed, was written with the express intention of reconciling the truths of revealed religion with the findings of philosophy. In the middle of this book he devotes some 17 chapters to the study of prophecy, preparing the way by a discussion of the meaning of the words "The Lord spoke unto X". Thus he says that when we read that God spoke to the prophets we are to understand only that prophets attained a knowledge of divine will, and that what they said comes to us from God, and is not the product of their own minds. It is is of no moment whether the Divine thought or will becomes known to man by a voice which he hears or by other means of inspiration; for speech, thought, and will, predicated of God, are simply accommodations to the modes human thought. As you can see, here is a Jew, a very fine one and very brilliant one at that, is presenting us with an intelligent and reverent explanation of revelation; it is the Divine will, you see, acting through human personality, informing but not suppressing it. Compare that with the view held by Christian Fundamentalists who believe in mechanical dictation and repeat phrases such as "If God said it, blah, blah, blah". The Christian people would do well to fall back on their Jewish roots in order for their faith to make sense in a highly sophisticated and modern world. You can download the book from: also browse the part under discussion on:

  • James Violand
    2018-10-13 13:04

    You must keep this in mind concerning this addition: the font is so small that each page is equivalent to 3 or 4 standard pages. The true book length would be between 1200 - 1400 pages. Do you want to commit yourself to reading this difficult book? (Difficult in that one must have read the works of the philosophers and theologians who preceded him and the Old Testament.)The first section concerns homonyms and is used, as necessary in philosophy, to settle on definitions before progressing to thesis. Here, Maimonides is concerned with disabusing a primitive mind of its anthropomorphic concepts of God. Some literalists will be appalled. This is a good thing. God has no dimension because He is limitless. Therefore, He has no face, feet, arms, etc. Nor, does He figuratively "pass by" anything. This vital section of M's work is by necessity boring to those of a higher understanding. One must endure this in order to arrive at the more enjoyable sections. It is enjoyable to read his blistering destruction of the Kalam (Islamic scholastic theology).The second section compares and contrasts the various philosophical works with those espoused by the sages of Jewish theology. Obviously, Maimonides's position is espoused and seems irrefutable until Thomas Aquinas nails his objections.The third section explains the enlightened Jewish position for perplexing problems posed in the Torah. Very insightful. If you can concentrate on philosophical/theological arguments, your mind will become elevated beyond the mundane world and you will enjoy a form of bliss only attained by very few. God is.

  • Melissa Barbosa
    2018-10-01 14:51

    Acho que nunca demorei tanto para ler um livro, mas a jornada valeu a pena! Essa obra de filosofia/teologia foi escrita no século XII (sim, doze!) pelo médico e filósofo judeu Maimônides à luz da redescoberta das obras de Aristóteles. O nome, Guia dos Perplexos, elucida o seu objetivo: ajudar as pessoas a conciliar fé e ciência (assim como ela é descrita nas obras do filósofo grego). Ao longo das páginas, Maimônides explica como várias passagens das escrituras não devem ser lidas ao pé da letra (mil anos atrás já se sabia muito bem disso!), como Deus só pode ser conhecido pela negação (a impossibilidade de se fazer afirmações verdadeiras sobre Deus) e como se prova que o mundo foi criado (ou seja, não é eterno). Ele também explica detalhadamente o que está por trás das diversas regras de conduta judaica (muitas delas são para diferenciar quem as segue dos idólatras, por exemplo) e finaliza com como encontramos o sentido da vida (spoiler alert: por meio do conhecimento verdadeiro acerca de Deus).O livro é uma viagem incrível no tempo e na história do pensamento humano. Recomendo a todos que querem entender um pouco mais da nossa própria era.

  • Noah
    2018-09-26 13:00

    Ich bin auf diese (meine) Ausgabe aufmerksam geworden, weil ich gar nicht damit gerechnet hatte, dass der einflussreiche (jüdische) Schocken Verlag im Jahre 1935 noch Bücher veröffentlichen durfte. Ich dachte er hätte damals schon aus dem Exil operiert. Leider ist das auch das einzig interessante an dem Buch. Das ist wirklich nur etwas für jüdische Theologen. Weder ist der Text aus sich heraus verständlich, noch wendet er sich auch nur im Ansatz an einen sekularisierten Leser.

  • Melissa Yael Winston
    2018-09-24 15:40

    When I read books like this or Heschel's God in Search of Man, I feel like a person who's just mastered basic math and loves it opening a book on theoretical calculus. In other words, my understanding of the Torah and of God has a long way to go before I understand much of what is in the Guide, but the journey is worth the effort. The best part of the book is Maimonides' explanation of some of the laws laid down, particularly in Vayikra (Leviticus). Reading these laws in the Torah without context makes it difficult in some cases to see the point, but Maimonides suggests the reasoning behind many laws was to further separate the monotheistic Hebrews from the polytheistic (read: "idolatrous") Canaanites that surrounded them at the time the Torah was given.The book also offers a section on Hebrew homonyms designed to clarify some confusion in the original Hebrew and makes an interesting tangent into medieval astronomy and metaphysics.To sum up: not exactly a beach read, but worth it.

  • Dan
    2018-09-24 15:39

    Translations of writings by Rabbi Maimonides. "It is impossible for any Truths arrived at by human intellect to contradict those revealed by God." A Talmudic scholar, he talks about the bible and tries to find harmony with Aristotle's philosophies. A masterpiece :-)

  • J.W. Dionysius Nicolello
    2018-09-30 15:41

    Pushing back to later in the month, or perhaps Feb.

  • Rick Massey
    2018-09-21 09:58

    If you are interested in ancient Jewish philosophy or commentaries on the Biblical text by one of the greatest Jewish thinkers ever - this book is a must read.

  • Eric Chevlen
    2018-10-06 10:46

    It took me about a year to read “The Guide of the Perplexed.” That was due more to the time available to me for serious reading than it was to the book itself. I mention this fact only because it will be pertinent at the end of this review.The Guide is published with an introductory essay by Leo Strauss, a world-class expert on Maimonides, and another introductory essay by the translator, Shlomo Pines. Strauss seems intent on hinting at esoteric aspects of the work, while Pines assumes the task of limning the philosophical influences of Maimonides’ thoughts. The quality of the translation seems quite good, and frequently the translator adds a footnote to discuss alternative translations or ambiguities in the original Arabic. As Strauss points out, Maimonides should be seen as a Jew writing for Jews, rather than a philosopher writing for philosophers. The perplexity he wishes to erase is corporeality. Many passages in the Torah, taken at their face value—like the very expression “face value”—imply that God is a corporeal being. Maimonides sees that erroneous belief as a portal to idolatry, and idolatry is the primordial sin which threatens mankind.The book opens with a discussion of homonyms found in the Torah, explaining how terms such as “God’s face,” “the hand of God,” “God’s eyes,” etc. must be understood metaphorically rather than literally. For the modern reader, this is an enjoyable lexicographical excursus, not a challenge to preconceptions.More challenging is the next section of the book, which discusses Aristotelian and medieval Arabic philosophy and their shortcomings. Here the language and arguments can become technical and daunting. Aristotle saw the world as having existed eternally; this is the major disagreement Maimonides has with the philosopher he so admires. Aristotle accepted God’s existence and unity, but nonetheless was an idolator in large part due to conclusions based on his belief in the world’s eternal existence.One of the major challenges for me comes from the fact that Maimonides accepts and seems to base some of his reasoning on the geocentric model of the universe. He even denies epicycles. This leaves him, I think, in a weak position to understand some motion of heavenly bodies known even in his time. Like many medieval philosophers, Maimonides sees the circle as the perfect shape, and perhaps would have rejected Kepler’s notion of elliptical orbits on that basis alone. The problem I had with the author is not that he had these pre-modern cosmological views, but that he based some of his philosophical reasoning on those “facts.”The final part of the book discusses Maimonides’ speculation as to the reasons behind most of the positive and negative commandments of the Torah. He sees the reasons as being to improve people’s character, improve societal relationships, and to guard against idolatry.Do I recommend the book? Obviously, it is not for everybody. It is over 600 pages of often very challenging reading. As mentioned above, it took me a year to read it. But the measure of my assessment of the book is this: I plan to read it again.

  • د.ريمة
    2018-09-26 09:57

    أولا من الواضح أن المطلعين على الكتاب في هذا الموقع ، من غير المتدينين، يعتبرونه فلسفة محضة واطلاعا ، لذا لم يؤثر التأثير المهم ، لكنني وجدته يعرض المبادئ العبرية بوضوح،من احتقار الفقر، والمكيافيلية، بصرف النظر عن بعض أحكام متوازية قليلا مع مبادئنا ،ورغم أن ابن ميمون تلميذ ابن رشد فعليا، فقد كان الكتاب ذو منهجية إسلامية فقط،، لكن مضمونه المشفر لم يتعد الفكر الأصل، الترجمة العربية كانت سيئة جدا ، لذا احتاج لقراءته بلغة أخرى، و لعل ضخامة الكتاب وتوصيل الفكرة بطرق ملتوية، كان متعبا جدا.

  • Rafelmenmell
    2018-10-07 10:56

    No pude acabarlo. Me sorprende cuanto tiempo hemos perdido con determinados asuntos.

  • Ci
    2018-10-04 09:05

    The introduction by Guttman is highly valuable to this reader (who came upon Maimonides with little readiness). According to D.H. Frank, Guttman holds an opposing view of that of Leo Strauss in viewing Maimonides bridging of Greek philosophy and Bible. With the only guide here by Guttman, this reader finds this slim collection complete and satisfying as a whole. The “Guide” is a practical philosophy for “good life” in the similar vein as Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, and Spinoza’s Ethics — that is according to D.H.Frank’s view. Yet this “good life” is anchored primarily in the Jewish biblical tradition, defensible philosophically according to Maimonides. The critical link is the first chapter of Book 1, the “image” of God imprinted on human as Aristotle’s “Form”. Hence the highest intellect of human is the “image” of God. From there, the bridge of God-fearing life and highest human reach through intellect is made. Rational mind can grasp metaphysical truth, that seems to be Maimonides’ position. (How about the ‘lower’ body-related human appetite and emotion? seems to be inferior stuff to be suppressed or discard. This reader is not certain).However, this “bridge” is not apotheosis of human becoming gods. Maimonides had a profound understanding of the limits of human reasoning. Human reasoning is not God’s reasoning, as our thought-process is shaped invariably by our sense experience. Faith is in no contradiction with reason, because of that inherent limitation of being human. The growth of human reason toward metaphysical truth then requires faith (in Bible and Sacred Teaching) in order to reach the metaphysical truth. Maimonides’ bridge also goes two-ways: not through our intellect we can reach God, we can also receive God in our heart. This is why establishing the identity of God of Bible with God of the philosophers so important. Now here is the religious mystic’s realm of knowledge, which is beyond intellect alone. One particular point to ponder is the parallel “truth vs. falsehood” and “good vs. evil”. Page 54. Our intellect is well equipped to discern “truth vs falsehood”, yet ‘good vs. evil’ is not an exercise of the intellect but of God’s wisdom. Does it mean that the Fall gives human the desire to know “good vs. evil” (pure ethics) yet we do not equip to discern it fully. Hence the covering of our bodies etc which is not ‘evil’ but a misguided sense of ‘good vs. evil’. (One interesting exercise in imagination in modern time is through Sci-Fi, particularly that of AI which obviously is perfect in discerning factual ‘truth’ or ‘falsehood’ but entirely absent from ‘good vs. evil’.) Our human ethics is simply aggregation of opinions and habits, Maimonides seemed to indicate, and not the real stuff. Did he mean that real ‘good vs. evil’ comes outside of human intellect but through revelatory act of Faith? (Need to think more and read again at some time in the future).

  • Orde
    2018-10-06 09:48

    I've read Maimonides' Guide for the Perplexed with the utmost expectations. But as so often with expectations you get to find something quite different from what you thought to find. With Maimonides it is like with certainly all of philosophy at his time, you've got to be prepared to deal with Aristotle's ideas about the cosmos, that is you've got to deal with the heliocentric system. And as Maimonides argues to reconcile the philosophy of Aristotle (or what he identifies to be Aristotelean philosophy) with the teachings of Torah he goes about to demonstrate the concordance of what is at his time considered to be the order of the universe as far as it is humanly possible to demonstrate its existence and the way the Torah and the Prophets describe it. He undertakes other things too explaining his method of reading, refuting the heresy of Kâlam and finally - although the opinions differ on this question - the superiority of Torah compared to philosophy which is useful and even wanted by God to enable man to fully understand his ways but still just the speculations of the weak human mind against the inspired words of the Prophets. Thus you'll somewhat find the familiar pattern of Scholastic thinking that philosophy was the handmaiden of theology (ancilla theologiae) also in Jewish philosophy from around the same period. Altogether a book I enjoyed reading. A classic so much's for sure. The fact that a lot depends on the heliocentric system may at times lead to the feeling that the discussion is a little outdated though.

  • Manuel Monroy Correa
    2018-10-07 10:42

    Una obra fundamental, sin duda, en la historia del judaísmo y que aún resuena sus ecos hermenéuticos entre las comunidades jaredí. Este acercamiento temprano y lúcido entre Grecia e Israel; razón y devoción religiosa, se yergue como un pilar al que es forzoso remitirse a la hora de preguntarse interpretativamente sobre las Escrituras. Maimónides ha querido reconciliar las doctrinas filosóficas griegas con el judaísimo sin faltar a ninguno desde la razón. Condenada en su tiempo y ahora venerada, la Guía de perplejos sigue iluminando. Es de llamar la atención que Maimónides utiliza herramientas filológicas también para acercarse a los pasajes oscuros y cuya tradición interpretativa mantenía en la isla de las revelaciones exclusivas, tales como los de la Merkabá (por lo cual, muy posiblemente, algunos desean aducir a un supuesto acercamiento cabalístico del autor). Antimítico, no es casualidad que Daniel Boyarin considere al rabino y médico sefaradí como el primer crítico del midrásh, abiertamente opuesto a éste, degradándolo a un nivel de interpretación rudimentario (por supuesto, esta subvaloración cobró un precio alto que se siente aún). Hay que agregar, finalmente, que como tal, es una de las grandes obras de la cultura occidental por muchas razones, entre las cuales destaca el nivel de su reflexión (en México, pertenece a la colección "Cien del Mundo" que publicara Conaculta hace varios años atrás).

  • Ann Michael
    2018-10-18 09:48

    Clearly written and occasionally quite wry, if you "get" 12th-century philosophical philosophy, and as a guide to an era and culture many Westerners know nothing about, this book is a revelation.Granted, the physics and biology Maimonides uses as premises or evidence are often dated. But I was surprised to learn that, in his era, it was a "given" that "the earth is a globe," and several other principles we think of as being "discovered" in the Renaissance. Here, a Jewish philosopher argues with his own colleagues (Talmudists and practitioners of Kabbalah)and, in a rational and respectful vein, with Arab/Persian theologians (followers of Islam) and, to some extent, with the Christian theologians of his time as well.Not a book for everyone; you have to be interested in either the philosophy or the theology to get through it (it is a LONG book). But rightly considered a classic of philosophical thinking.

  • Skylar Burris
    2018-09-29 12:01

    I read on 15 or so pages after my last update, and then abandoned. This is one of those classics of religion I have always meant to read. But part way through, I throw in the towel and shamefacedly confess that I’m just not cut out for it. I’m slightly confused, but honestly more bored than befuddled. Maybe back in the days when I was into in-depth Bible study and parsing every line of Scripture, this would have been fascinating to me, but after reading the Bible a few times and a handful of commentaries, I find this stuff now begins to make my eyes glaze over. I think I'm out of the intellectual phase of my religious development and into the traditional practice phase or something. Give me a few years, and maybe I'll try again.

  • Dylan Suher
    2018-10-04 11:51

    One of the few books in recent memory where I really felt like I was often in over my head. I buy the Kabbalistic argument; the Moreh is answering questions that are coming from behind the shadows. I find some of Maimonides' arguments very intriguing (particularly his explanation for the taboo on idolatry, and the story of Genesis as allegory), but that doesn't mean I agree with the majority of them. It was comforting to return to Aristotelean thought, and I have a distinct affection for Maimonides the writer, arrogant to a fault, and a committed, no-nonsense rationalist. And though I tend to agree, on a logical level, with his conclusions on the nature of God, it is quite a cold vision, and it made me want to seek out another.

  • Rom Gayoso
    2018-09-19 08:53

    The book discusses some interesting topics and forces the reader into reflection, which is good. However, what impressed me about the reading was not the author's ability to address very complex topics - which he clearly does - but rather to do it in a clear way. Readers are always trying to understand the premises and authors work hard to get the points across, but that relationship is not always easy because there are many potential avenues for communications to fail. Maimonides habit of disclosing both propositions and arguments in a very clear and concise way are a joy. In reality it is difficult to distill the essence of many arguments, even more so in medieval writings, but Maimonides seems to break away from that pattern and offer an easier to understand view of his perspectives.

  • Ivan Soto
    2018-10-14 08:39

    I read the book because of its fame. I now see why is so famous. Its writer was clearly a man of nuanced thoughts and of brilliant exposition. Yet it does deal with for-me-tired-old-theology and it made me decide that this would be the LAST theology book on which I would ever spend reading time. In short, I began with the best of intentions but a bad reading attitude crept in during my reading, even though all along appreciating Maimonides' monumental achievement. I read the M. Freidländer translation; Kindle edition; published September 30, 2010. Maimonides was born March 28, 1138 in Córdoba, Spain; he died December 13, 1204 in Fostat, Egypt; 66 years old.

  • Hamza
    2018-09-26 07:41

    Whew, that was quite a read. I really wanted to give it five stars, but many aspects of Maimonides's view of the universe are incredibly dated to the point of being laughable. Also, he lists many opinions of philosophers and Islamic theologians simply to then say that they're incorrect, and give his own view. It just throws off the structure of the treatise in my opinion, but everything that has to do with Biblical Law (i.e. the majority of the treatise) is spectacular. It really makes one view the Tanakh in a new light, even as a non-Jew. Overall, definitely worth a read.

  • Red
    2018-09-24 09:02

    in the old centre of cordoba you can find a little cantina. they have an amazing 'rabo de toro'.run for the shadowsmaimonides and his family lives were interrupted. his brother david shipwrecked including the family for the shadowsthis figurative use of the verb "to eat" in the sense of "acquiring wisdom"run for the shadowsif you admit the doubt...then you have attained the highest degree of human perfectionin these golden years

  • Joao Correia
    2018-10-02 12:04

    No exactly easy to read. When looked for a "The Guide to the Perplexed" edition to read i've checked the reviews on the available ones and at the end settled upon this one. This is an abridged edition which makes it less long than other editions, however this was published in a philosophy series and one feels that while reading the book. Anyhow, i fell that this is a nice starting point if you are interested in Maimonides work.

  • Jimmacc
    2018-09-26 12:40

    The introduction, in its defense of forms and elements over atomic theory, has a continuing influence on how I view science and religion. More specifically, we don't know everything, so trying to connect religion and science without inflicting our own limitations on the explanation is at best pointless. The main text is very interesting and the author's discussion is as informative as it is influential.

  • Gabriel
    2018-09-21 12:47

    Of all the books I read for my medieval Jewish theology course, this was my favorite. I had this teacher that would bounce up on the tips of his toes, shouting, "Obviously. Obviously." Whenever making a point that he thought was well obvious. Is it this book in which experience is atomized, each moment dependent upon the will of god?

  • David
    2018-10-07 10:46

    Currently reading again. If you want to know plumb and understand more of the depths of the 5 books of Moses than this book is for you.Maimonides tells you how words are used in the Hebrew texts, as well as providing his and others insights into the texts. The genius of the texts is illuminated as well as the genius of Maimonides.