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Maimonides' "Guide of the Perplexed" in TranslationA History from the Thirteenth Century to the Twentieth$
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Josef Stern, James T. Robinson, and Yonatan Shemesh

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226457635

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226627878.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Maimonides' "Guide of the Perplexed" in Translation

Josef Stern

University of Chicago Press

This volume of essays tells the story of Maimonides’ Guide through its translations and translators, and through its impact in translation on philosophy from the Middle Ages to the present day. There has been almost no discussion of the fact that the text generally available to readers was a translation. On the one hand, this makes our story a reception history, but, on the other, unlike other reception histories, it focuses on the translators’ understanding of the book as reflected in their choice of words and syntactic formulations for the translation (including the introduction of paragraph divisions that do not exist in the Arabic original), on the desirability and feasibility of desiderata such as consistency in translation, and on the manner(s) in which the translations might have shaped readers’ interpretations in ways not intended by Maimonides himself. It highlights the ways in which the translated text served as an impetus for the development of a philosophical vocabulary within the translating, or target, languages, the influences of earlier translations of the Guide on later ones, the influences of translations of other philosophical works on translations of the Guide, and on general methodological questions of translation.

Keywords:   Translation, Transmission, Interpretation, Philosophy

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