The Matter and Form of Maimonides' <i>Guide</i>
Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed is generally read as an attempt either to harmonize reason and revelation or to show that they are irreconcilable. Moving beyond these familiar debates, Josef Stern argues that the perplexity addressed in this famously enigmatic work is the tension between human matter and form: the body and intellect.
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achieve actions Active Intellect actualized intellect affirmative attributes Al-Farabi Aqiba Arabic argues argument Aristotelian Aristotle Aristotle’s Averroes Avicenna belief bodily body cause Chapter claim cognitive commandments composite composite material conception constructive dilemma cosmology Davidson deity demonstration desires Deuteronomy distinction edited elements emanation epistemic epistemology esotericism essence explain external speech faculty God’s governance Guide heavens Hebrew hence human intellect human perfection ibid imagination imitatio dei individual inner speech intellectual perfection intelligible interpretation knowledge of metaphysics Maimonidean matter and form Merkavah metaphysics midrash Mishneh Torah moral Moses natural necessarily existent negation Neoplatonic notion one’s parable parabolic external meaning passage philosophers Pines possible potentiality proof prooftext propositions rabbinic refers representation ruler Saadiah Gaon scriptural sense separate intellects shame signify skeptical spheres sublunar substance term Tetragrammaton things translation true reality truth understanding University Press verse virtue vulgar external meaning wisdom words worship