Leibniz' Anthology of Maimonides' Guide

New York: Shehakol Inc. (2022)
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Abstract

Maimonides’ Latin translation of Moreh Nevukhim | Guide for the Perplexed, was the most influential Jewish work in the last millennia (Di Segni, 2019; Rubio, 2006; Wohlman, 1988, 1995; Kohler, 2017). It marked the beginning of scholasticism, a daughter of Judaism raised by Jewish thinkers, according to historian Heinrich Graetz (Geschichte der Juden, L. 6, Leipzig 1861, p. xii). Printed by Gutenberg's first mechanical press, its influence in the West went as far as the Fifth Lateran Council (1512 — 1517) "where scholars were encouraged to remove the difficulties which seemed to divide the whole of theology and philosophy (Leibniz, Théodicée, 11)." For centuries, the Guide revolutionized the curriculum of school instruction by reintegrating the natural laws of thought in the sphere of faith (the fourth of which became Leibniz’ Principle of sufficient reason). This complete collection of notes expounds the ideas of the Guide and features all the passages selected and rewritten by Leibniz. This first complete annotated bilingual translation of the original manuscripts in Latin serves as an entry point to the faith in conformity with Reason. This complete collection of notes expounds the ideas of the Guide as selected and rewritten by Leibniz, the famous mathematician inventor of computer arithmetic, considered the last universal genius. The first complete bilingual translation in three centuries features on the front cover Rembrandt's Philosopher in meditation, and a recommendation from Leibniz's himself on the back: "Rabbi Maimonides' excellent book, A Guide for the Perplexed, is more philosophical than I imagined and worthy of careful reading." According to Malbim’s translator, Noah Rosenbloom, the book’s epigraph indicates that nineteenth-century Rabbi Leibush ben Yehiel Michel Wisser, also known as Malbim, was familiar with Leibniz’ Theodicy. In Leibniz’ anthology of the Guide, the reader can get a detailed glimpse of Leibniz' impressions of Maimonides. The Foreword by Leibniz' translator Lloyd Strickland suggests that there were sympathies and perhaps even overlaps between the thoughts of both universal luminaries.

Author Profiles

Lloyd Strickland
Manchester Metropolitan University

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