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Thread: Maimonides vs. Aristotle

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    Default Maimonides vs. Aristotle

    Beginning in the 9th century, the Jews living in Arab lands came under the influence of Greek philosophy. The writings of Aristotle and Plato, among others, were translated into Arabic and challenged the traditional religious sensibilities of both Jews and Muslims. Aristotle, in particular, posed a threat because of his prestige as the philosopher par excellence and his depiction of a transcendent, unchanging, and uncaring god.

    Moses Maimonides (1138–1204) represents the most significant Jewish philosophical response to Aristotelian thought. Jewish philosophy was, in large part, responding to the Intellectual challenge of Aristotle, who held that God is totally transcendent, unchanging, and uncaring.

    --> Creation of the world.
    A) Aristotle assumed that the world was eternal.

    B) Genesis 1 and the Rabbis generally offered a more Platonic version of creation, whereby God fashioned the universe as we know it from pre-existing material.

    C) By the Middle Ages, the philosophical stakes became clear. If one agrees with Aristotle’s version of the eternity of the world and the impossibility of divine intervention in the movement of the cosmos, then miracles become impossible.

    D) Maimonides argued that Aristotle did not prove that the universe was eternal; therefore, we are free to disagree with what has not been conclusively proven.

    E) Maimonides then argues that creation ex nihilo (yesh m’ayin) should be accepted, even without conclusive proof, on the strength of prophecy.


    --> Prayer
    The god of Aristotle is both uninterested in human prayer and Incapable of responding. A personal relationship with such a god is quite difficult.

    Although Maimonides maintains that prayer is a mitzvah, he also Understands that it is a concession to human psychology.

    Maimonides then draws the comparison to prayer that is of value only for the pray-er to feel connected to God. But, like Aristotle, Maimonides believes that God is totally
    transcendent and uninterested and unmoved by prayer.




    --> Source credit: Shai Cherry, Professor of Jewish Thought, Vanderbilt University by
    Last edited by Cypress; 04-12-2022 at 03:52 PM. Reason: Removed superfluous icon added to title line

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
    Beginning in the 9th century, the Jews living in Arab lands came under the influence of Greek philosophy. The writings of Aristotle and Plato, among others, were translated into Arabic and challenged the traditional religious sensibilities of both Jews and Muslims. Aristotle, in particular, posed a threat because of his prestige as the philosopher par excellence and his depiction of a transcendent, unchanging, and uncaring god.

    Moses Maimonides (1138–1204) represents the most significant Jewish philosophical response to Aristotelian thought. Jewish philosophy was, in large part, responding to the Intellectual challenge of Aristotle, who held that God is totally transcendent, unchanging, and uncaring.

    --> Creation of the world.
    A) Aristotle assumed that the world was eternal.

    B) Genesis 1 and the Rabbis generally offered a more Platonic version of creation, whereby God fashioned the universe as we know it from pre-existing material.

    C) By the Middle Ages, the philosophical stakes became clear. If one agrees with Aristotle’s version of the eternity of the world and the impossibility of divine intervention in the movement of the cosmos, then miracles become impossible.

    D) Maimonides argued that Aristotle did not prove that the universe was eternal; therefore, we are free to disagree with what has not been conclusively proven.

    E) Maimonides then argues that creation ex nihilo (yesh m’ayin) should be accepted, even without conclusive proof, on the strength of prophecy.


    --> Prayer
    The god of Aristotle is both uninterested in human prayer and Incapable of responding. A personal relationship with such a god is quite difficult.

    Although Maimonides maintains that prayer is a mitzvah, he also Understands that it is a concession to human psychology.

    Maimonides then draws the comparison to prayer that is of value only for the pray-er to feel connected to God. But, like Aristotle, Maimonides believes that God is totally
    transcendent and uninterested and unmoved by prayer.




    --> Source credit: Shai Cherry, Professor of Jewish Thought, Vanderbilt University
    So you don't believe God listens to sincere pray!?
    Angel of Death

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    A parallel debate in modern physics.

    In the early 20th century, Einstein and most physicists believed in a stable and unchanging universe of infinite age, because it was more satisfying and "perfect" in a philosophical sense.

    By the 1960s, Martin Ryle had conclusive data showing that the universe was evolving and changing, from a beginning point in time..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sock Sockinski View Post
    So you don't believe God listens to sincere pray!?
    I don't know if there is a God or any higher power, and if there is I don't know if it listens to prayer or ritual..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
    I don't know if there is a God or any higher power, and if there is I don't know if it listens to prayer or ritual..
    So ya got nothin!
    Angel of Death

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
    A parallel debate in modern physics.

    In the early 20th century, Einstein and most physicists believed in a stable and unchanging universe of infinite age, because it was more satisfying and "perfect" in a philosophical sense.

    By the 1960s, Martin Ryle had conclusive data showing that the universe was evolving and changing, from a beginning point in time..
    What was the trigger to the creation of the physical universe?
    Angel of Death

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sock Sockinski View Post
    What was the trigger to the creation of the physical universe?
    Some people invoke a quantum fluctuation.

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    Maimonides’s major contribution to Jewish life remains the Mishneh Torah, his code of Jewish law. His intention was to compose a book that would guide Jews on how to behave in all situations just by reading the Torah and his code, without having to expend large amounts of time searching through the Talmud. Needless to say, this provocative rationale did not endear Maimonides to many traditional Jews, who feared that people would rely on his code and no longer study the Talmud. Despite sometimes intense opposition, the Mishneh Torah became a standard guide to Jewish practice: It later served as the model for the Shulkhan Arukh, the sixteenth *century code of Jewish law that is still regarded as authoritative by observant Jews.

    Maimonides was one of the few Jewish thinkers whose teachings also influenced the non*Jewish world; much of his philosophical writings in the Guide were about God and other theological issues of general, not exclusively Jewish, interest. Thomas Aquinas refers in his writings to “Rabbi Moses,” and shows considerable familiarity with the Guide. In 1985, on the 850th anniversary of Maimonides’s birth, Pakistan and Cuba — which do not recognize Israel — were among the co*sponsors of a UNESCO conference in Paris on Maimonides. Vitali Naumkin, a Soviet scholar, observed on this occasion: “Maimonides is perhaps the only philosopher in the Middle Ages, perhaps even now, who symbolizes a confluence of four cultures: Greco*-Roman, Arab, Jewish, and Western.”

    https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org...monides-rambam
    Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. Albert Einstein

    Ob-la-di ob-la-da life goes on




    ברוך השם

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    These exchanges on God and religion always baffle me, why, you either have faith or you don't, there is no reason involved, intellectual understanding, it is all about beliefs, not complicated

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    Quote Originally Posted by archives View Post
    These exchanges on God and religion always baffle me, why, you either have faith or you don't, there is no reason involved, intellectual understanding, it is all about beliefs, not complicated
    Agree. Why I started a thread about the difference between philosophy and religion. (Which the religionists took over).

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    Quote Originally Posted by archives View Post
    These exchanges on God and religion always baffle me, why, you either have faith or you don't, there is no reason involved, intellectual understanding, it is all about beliefs, not complicated
    We all claim to have a belief in justice, equality, fairness, but we can't agree on what it actually really means in tangible terms.

    Debating metaphysical concepts and issues is part of what it means to be a thinking human being. Just my two cents

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    Quote Originally Posted by guno View Post
    Maimonides’s major contribution to Jewish life remains the Mishneh Torah, his code of Jewish law. His intention was to compose a book that would guide Jews on how to behave in all situations just by reading the Torah and his code, without having to expend large amounts of time searching through the Talmud. Needless to say, this provocative rationale did not endear Maimonides to many traditional Jews, who feared that people would rely on his code and no longer study the Talmud. Despite sometimes intense opposition, the Mishneh Torah became a standard guide to Jewish practice: It later served as the model for the Shulkhan Arukh, the sixteenth *century code of Jewish law that is still regarded as authoritative by observant Jews.

    Maimonides was one of the few Jewish thinkers whose teachings also influenced the non*Jewish world; much of his philosophical writings in the Guide were about God and other theological issues of general, not exclusively Jewish, interest. Thomas Aquinas refers in his writings to “Rabbi Moses,” and shows considerable familiarity with the Guide. In 1985, on the 850th anniversary of Maimonides’s birth, Pakistan and Cuba — which do not recognize Israel — were among the co*sponsors of a UNESCO conference in Paris on Maimonides. Vitali Naumkin, a Soviet scholar, observed on this occasion: “Maimonides is perhaps the only philosopher in the Middle Ages, perhaps even now, who symbolizes a confluence of four cultures: Greco*-Roman, Arab, Jewish, and Western.”

    https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org...monides-rambam
    He is generally under appreciated it seems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
    We all claim to have a belief in justice, equality, fairness, but we can't agree on what it actually really means in tangible terms.

    Debating metaphysical concepts and issues is part of what it means to be a thinking human being. Just my two cents
    In the right environment, and always requires individuals who have at least some grasp on what they are talking about

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    Well, Aristotle never said God is transcendent. Almost the opposite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
    Some people invoke a quantum fluctuation.
    Wrong!
    Angel of Death

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