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The Second Ibn Tibbon

The Second Ibn Tibbon

Salomon Munk and His Translation of the Guide

(p.181) 5 The Second Ibn Tibbon
Maimonides' "Guide of the Perplexed" in Translation
Paul B. Fenton
University of Chicago Press

A little over a century before Shlomo Pines’s translation of the Guide, another Solomon had rendered Maimonides’ philosophical masterpiece into a modern European language, but in a very different spirit and using a very different methodology. The French rendition by Salomon Munk (1803–67) is not only a work of scholarship in itself, but it also became a model for subsequent translations into various languages. The present study will first examine how it was possible for an early nineteenth-century German Jew who was initially destined for a rabbinical vocation to acquire the intimate knowledge of Arabic and Islamic philosophy necessary for such an undertaking. Second, it will examine why Munk chose to translate Maimonides’ Guide specifically.

Keywords:   Munk, French, Arabic, Guide des egares

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