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Belief in God: From “The Guide for the Perplexed” by Maimonides (vegetarian), Part 1 of 2

2022-04-13
Език:English
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Maimonides, also known as HaRambam, or Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, was a notable medieval Jewish philosopher, astronomer, physician, and intellectual figure. Famous works by Maimonides include “Mishneh Torah,” a commentary on the Talmud, and “The Guide for the Perplexed,” philosophical discussions regarding theological matters. Today, we will read selections from Part 1, Chapter 35, in Rabbi Moses ben Maimon’s book “The Guide for the Perplexed,” to better understand the attributes of God as discoursed by the Rabbi.

“All people must be informed, and even children must be trained in the belief that God is One, and that none besides Him is to be worshipped, so must all be taught by simple authority that God is incorporeal; that there is no similarity in any way whatsoever between Him and His creatures; that His existence is not like the existence of His creatures, His life not like that of any living being, His wisdom not like the wisdom of the wisest of men; and that the difference between Him and His creatures is not merely quantitative, but absolute.”

“That God is incorporeal, that He cannot be compared with His creatures, that He is not subject to external influence; these are things which must be explained to everyone according to his capacity, and they must be taught by way of tradition to children and to the unlearned, as they are taught that God is One, that He is eternal, and that He alone is to be worshipped.”

“Those who are not sufficiently intelligent to comprehend the true interpretation of these passages in the Bible, or to understand that the same term admits of two different interpretations, may simply be told that the scriptural passage is clearly understood by the wise, but that they should content themselves with knowing that God is incorporeal, that He is never subject to external influence, as passivity implies a change, while God is entirely free from all change, that He cannot be compared to anything besides Himself, that no definition includes Him together with any other being, that the words of the Prophets are true, and that difficulties met with may be explained on this principle.”

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