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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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Holy War in Maimonidean Law

Holy War in Maimonidean Law

Chapter:
(p.209) 11 Holy War in Maimonidean Law
Source:
Perspectives on Maimonides
Author(s):

Gerald J. Blidstein

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9780197100714.003.0012

This chapter explores Maimonides’ discussion of the justification and function of war. Maimonides provides for universal holy war and constructs its ideological basis. Holy war, moreover, is the only justified war. In addition, Maimonides makes the ideological element a crucial component of war. The chapter then explains the concepts of the ‘commanded war’ and the ‘permitted war’. Commanded war does not include wars fought to spread Noahide law. The commanded wars of the normative structure are firmly defined, rather, by the history of the people and the goals of national territorial existence. Permitted war especially compromises the characteristics at the heart of holy war doctrine; wars may be fought that are not imperative divine commands, with material goals rather than religious or ethical aims as their purpose.

Keywords:   Maimonides, universal holy war, holy war, justified war, ideology, commanded war, permitted war, Noahide law, divine commands

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