By Sarah Stroumsa
Whereas the nice medieval thinker, theologian, and general practitioner Maimonides is said as a number one Jewish philosopher, his highbrow contacts together with his surrounding global are frequently defined as comparable basically to Islamic philosophy. "Maimonides in His World" demanding situations this view via revealing him to have wholeheartedly lived, breathed, and espoused the wealthy Mediterranean tradition of his time.
Sarah Stroumsa argues that Maimonides is such a lot adequately seen as a Mediterranean philosopher who continuously interpreted his personal Jewish culture in modern multicultural phrases. Maimonides spent his complete existence within the Mediterranean area, and the non secular and philosophical traditions that fed his concept have been these of the broader global within which he lived. Stroumsa demonstrates that he used to be deeply stimulated not just via Islamic philosophy yet by means of Islamic tradition as an entire, facts of which she unearths in his philosophy in addition to his correspondence and criminal and clinical writings. She starts off with a concise biography of Maimonides, then conscientiously examines key elements of his proposal, together with his method of faith and the complicated global of theology and spiritual rules he encountered between Jews, Christians, Muslims, or even heretics; his perspectives approximately technological know-how; the mammoth and unacknowledged impression of the Almohads on his suggestion; and his imaginative and prescient of human perfection.
This insightful cultural biography restores Maimonides to his rightful position between medieval philosophers and affirms his important relevance to the examine of medieval Islam.
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Extra resources for Maimonides in His World: Portrait of a Mediterranean Thinker
In 1148 Cordoba was captured by another Berber dynasty, that of the Muwahhidun (or Almohads), whose highly idiosyncratic interpretation of Muslim law deprived the religious minorities of their traditional protected status. 29 3. 30 There, Maimonides became involved in the trade of precious stones, but 26 For a detailed description of Maimonides’ biography, see Davidson, Moses Maimonides, esp. chap. L. Kraemer, “Moses Maimonides: An Intellectual Portrait,” in K. , The Cambridge Companion to Maimonides (Cambridge, 2005), 10–57; idem, Maimonides: The Life and World of One of Civilization’s Greatest Minds.
One of their (still not fully understood) idiosyncrasies involved the forced conversion of what used to be “protected minorities” (ahl al-dhimma) and it seems probable that under this law Maimonides’ family had to convert (albeit only overtly) to Islam. According to Muslim sources, the Almohads suspected the external nature of such forced conversions. Nevertheless, they expected putative converts to conform to Muslim law and to educate their children accordingly. ”52 When Maimonides ﬁnally arrived in Egypt, around 1165, it was still ruled by the Fatimids.
Stroumsa, “Philosophy as Wisdom: On the Christians’ Role in the Translation of Philosophical Material to Arabic,” in H. , Exchange and Transmission across Cultural Boundaries: Philosophy and Science in the Mediterranean (Proceedings of a Workshop in Memory of Prof. Shlomo Pines: the Institute for Advanced Studies, Jerusalem (28 February–2 March 2005) (Jerusalem, forthcoming). 44 Ibn Qutayba, Uyun al-akhbar, ed. C. Brockelmann (Berlin, 1900), 11, lines 5–7. Cf. Gutas, Greek Thought, 159; Brague, Maïmonide, Traité d’éthique, 32, note 25.
Maimonides in His World: Portrait of a Mediterranean Thinker by Sarah Stroumsa