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Oxford Jewish Thought

Lectures, essays, questions & articles

by Rabbi Eli Brackman

Maimonides: Spiritualist or Legalist?

 

An ongoing debate exists among scholars on how to portray Maimonides. Is he concerned only about the legal and rational aspects of Judaism whereby the spiritual and mystical is of lesser or no importance, or does he also emphasise the importance of the spiritual and mystical in additional to the legal and rational? In this essay, I would like to demonstrate that in some of the most fundamental ideas of Judaism it is Judaism as a legal code with concern for the law that is most important to Maimonides. We will then qualify this by arguing that when viewing the philosophical thought of Maimonides more comprehensively this debate becomes more complex demonstrating that the spiritual is also of fundamental importance, as… Read More »

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