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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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‘To the Utmost of Human Capacity’: Maimonides on the Days of the Messiah

‘To the Utmost of Human Capacity’: Maimonides on the Days of the Messiah

(p.221) 12 ‘To the Utmost of Human Capacity’: Maimonides on the Days of the Messiah
Perspectives on Maimonides

Aviezer Ravitzky

Liverpool University Press

This chapter studies Maimonides’ discussion of Messianism. Maimonides’ political philosophy and anthropology direct his positive Messianic models: the political realization of the Torah within Israel and the intellectual actualization of the spiritual power within the human species. His ontology and theology, on the other hand, dictate his negative emphases — the restrictions and limitations imposed upon Messianism: the rejection of cosmic, apocalyptic redemption, and the setting of Messianic hope within the domain of human existence. While his Messianism is dictated not by his mind but by his faith, it is essentially his mind that directs, defines, and limits the object of his faith. The chapter then offers certain patterns for understanding the reasoning of Maimonides in his depiction of Messianic days, to establish its normative significance, and to examine the relationship established in his teaching among the three different dimensions of redemption — individual, national, and universal. The analysis takes into account the relevant passages scattered among Maimonides’ various writings, but gives primary weight to the clear, well-structured, and detailed presentation found at the end of Hilkhot Melakhim (Laws of kings) in the light of the Guide of the Perplexed.

Keywords:   Maimonides, Messianism, Messianic hope, Messianic days, redemption, Hilkhot Melakhim, Laws of the kings, Guide of the Perplexed

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