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Perspectives on MaimonidesPhilosophical and Historical Studies$
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Joel L. Kraemer

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780197100714

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9780197100714.001.0001

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Maimonides’ Quest beyond Philosophy and Prophecy

Maimonides’ Quest beyond Philosophy and Prophecy

(p.141) 7 Maimonides’ Quest beyond Philosophy and Prophecy
Perspectives on Maimonides

Ithamar Gruenwald

Liverpool University Press

This chapter details Maimonides’ quest beyond philosophy and prophecy. It has occasionally been noticed that certain elements in the writings of Maimonides may be interpreted as testifying to the presence of a mystical thread artfully woven into the philosophical texture of his writings. It is particularly in Maimonides’ version of the (Alfarabian) theory of the elevation of the human, passive intellect to a state of utmost closeness to, or even unification with, the celestial Active Intellect that some resemblance to a mystical experience can be discerned. Some scholars have gone so far as to seriously consider the possibility that Maimonides actually had a prophetic experience of mystical quality. The chapter then assesses whether Maimonides considered the issue of the relationship between philosophy and prophecy to be a trap best avoided, and that he consequently attempted to find a way beyond these two modes of cognition.

Keywords:   Maimonides, philosophy, prophecy, mysticism, human intellect, Active Intellect

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