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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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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 24 July 2021

Shlomo Pines and the Rediscovery of Maimonides in Contemporary Philosophy

Shlomo Pines and the Rediscovery of Maimonides in Contemporary Philosophy

(p.385) 14 Shlomo Pines and the Rediscovery of Maimonides in Contemporary Philosophy
Maimonides' "Guide of the Perplexed" in Translation

Kenneth Seeskin

University of Chicago Press

This chapter explores the connection between the publication of Shlomo Pines’ English translation of the Guide of the Perplexed and what the author calls the ‘rediscovery’ of Maimonides by contemporary philosophers. After the publication of Pines’ translation in 1963, the sheer number of papers and books on Maimonides in English by Anglo-American philosophers increased dramatically. These contemporary scholars include not only historians of philosophy and of Jewish philosophy but also constructive theologians, and, as the author argues, philosophers of language. The chapter begins by distinguishing three major approaches to the study of Maimonides in America and Israel, and the role of Maimonides in recent developments in the history of medieval philosophy. It continues by discussing recent Anglo-American interest in Maimonides’ skepticism, negative theology, and account of divine attributes and names. In particular, the author explores parallels between Maimonides' understanding of the Tetragrammaton and Saul Kripke’s causal theory of reference. The paper also addresses Pines' introductory essay to his translation and his supposed change of views from 1979 on. Finally, the chapter discusses Leo Strauss’ role in the ‘rediscovery’ of Maimonides and his esotericist approach to the Guide.

Keywords:   Shlomo Pines, Anglo-American philosophy, negative theology, skepticism, Saul Kripke’s causal theory of reference, Leo Strauss, divine attributes and names

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