JPHI 1654 - F Philosophy of Maimonides
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SCW syllabus / YU only
This course is online and predominantly synchronous, with occasional short asynchronous videos. Aims of the course Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed (Moreh Nevukhim) is the most famous work in the history of Jewish philosophy-- but also among the most challenging to interpret. What makes the book so daunting is that the author tells us that he has deliberately made the work disorganized and has deliberately inserted contradictions that will obscure his meaning. Many interpreters treat the Guide as a puzzle, a work written, to a degree, in code. For this reason, debates have raged for centuries over Maimonides’ true teachings were. This course is designed to introduce you to the basic concepts and arguments of the Moreh and to the main issues about the proper method for its interpretation. Despite our stress on the Moreh, however, we will spend the first few weeks on Rambam's "legal writings," for reasons to be explained in class. Scholars debate whether the philosophy of Mishneh Torah and that of the Moreh are the same or instead differ, and if so, why. This question will be a focus of some classes. One major aim of the course is to enable you to read works by Maimonides with an eye toward picking up the subtleties in his writing and the ambiguities that often baffle commentators. My hope is that you will learn to identify options for unraveling these difficult texts. In class discussion I hope you will probe and challenge the various interpretations, including the ones I suggest, leading to lively and productive conversation. COURSE OBJECTIVES This course is designed to: • Make you conversant with the positions, arguments, and impact of Maimonides and certain critics. • Enhance your ability to think rigorously by assessing Maimonides’ arguments. • Enhance your ability to read closely in both Maimonides’ legal writings and his philosophic writings
Shatz, DAvid C. (2021, Spring), Syllabus, JPHI 1654 - F Philosophy of Maimonides, Stern College for Women, Yeshiva University.
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