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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 and Eretz Yisrael: Halakhic, Philosophic, and Historical Perspectives

Maimonides and Eretz Yisrael: Halakhic, Philosophic, and Historical Perspectives

(p.257) 13 Maimonides and Eretz Yisrael: Halakhic, Philosophic, and Historical Perspectives
Perspectives on Maimonides

Isadore Twersky

Liverpool University Press

This chapter describes Maimonides’ attitude and attachment to Eretz Yisrael. The difficulty of a discussion concerning Maimonides and Eretz Yisrael is threefold: the complexity of the man and the problematic nature of his teaching; the delicacy of the subject and the importance of its implications; and the scarcity or fragmentation of sources. The chapter then suggests an indirect approach to the subject, via consideration of a number of central topics in Maimonides’ thought, topics which are, in any case, central to Jewish thought in general, and specifically to see what place Eretz Yisrael holds and what its function is in the formation of Maimonides’ attitudes. A wide range of topics that are worthy of consideration and will shed light on the subject may be noted. These topics include the history of religion — the principle focus being the spread of monotheism — and the history of the halakhah, particularly the appearance of controversy in the Oral Law and the growth of custom, as well as the compilation of the Mishnah and the Talmud despite the prohibition against writing down the Oral Law. Other topics are the history of philosophy, prophecy, prayer, the Hebrew language, and the religious establishment. In all of these, the influence of the territorial dimension, or the lack thereof, and its replacement by another historical dimension, needs to be investigated.

Keywords:   Maimonides, Eretz Yisrael, Jewish thought, monotheism, halakhah, Oral Law, Mishnah, Talmud, philosophy, religious establishment

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