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Maimonides as a Student of Islamic Religious Thought

Maimonides as a Student of Islamic Religious Thought

Revisiting Shlomo Pines’s “Translator’s Introduction” and Its Comments on al-Ghaza¯lı¯

(p.403) 15 Maimonides as a Student of Islamic Religious Thought
Maimonides' "Guide of the Perplexed" in Translation
Frank Griffel
University of Chicago Press

Shlomo Pines’ “Translator’s Introduction” to his English rendering of Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed appeared more than twenty-five years after his dissertation and interpretative article on Islamic philosophy and science. A direct comparison of these works reveals that the earlier ones are significantly more innovative than the introduction. The subtitle to the introduction is “The Philosophic Sources of The Guide of the Perplexed,” and it reveals that here, Pines adopted a method that springs directly from the tradition of German philology. Pines was well aware of this. At one point, while comparing Maimonides’ thought with that of al-Fārābī, he admits that his introduction pursues only very limited goals. In short, a thorough understanding of Maimonides’ practical philosophy might prove to be a meritorious achievement and it would certainly elucidate his relationship with al-Fārābī, but it is not something that Pines aims to achieve in his introduction, which is merely concerned with the philological goal of enumerating what Maimonides had read and how these readings are manifest in his Guide.

Keywords:   Pines, German Philology, Enlightenment, Kalam, Ghazali

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