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(p.186) Epilogue
Maimonides and Spinoza
Joshua Parens
University of Chicago Press

This book concludes by discussing the apparent differences found in the philosophic teachings of Spinoza and Maimonides. The core of their difference is that, on the one hand, Maimonides seeks to educate the desire and spiritedness of his young charge, Joseph ben Judah; on the other hand, Spinoza seeks to change the very nature of the passions by undercutting the transcendent objects that so inflame not only desire but also anger. Maimonides attempts to guide and shape the interplay of Joseph's spiritedness and his love of the beautiful. Maimonides's main concern is to undercut Joseph's longing for honor, as well as to temper his proclivity toward erotic excess of all kinds. In contrast, Spinoza undercuts that problematic passion, known as righteous indignation, by denying the reality of transcendent objects of desire, namely, the beautiful, the good, telos, or form of any kind.

Keywords:   desire, spiritedness, Joseph ben Judah, passions, anger, transcendent objects

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