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Jewish Theology and World Religions$
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Alon Goshen-Gottstein and Eugene Korn

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781906764098

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906764098.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

Maimonides’ Treatment of Christianity and its Normative Implications

Maimonides’ Treatment of Christianity and its Normative Implications

(p.217) Nine Maimonides’ Treatment of Christianity and its Normative Implications
Jewish Theology and World Religions

David Novak

Liverpool University Press

This chapter discusses Maimonides' treatment of Christianity. Since Maimonides is the most theological of all the halakhists and the one most interested in the ideas that underlie religious praxis, it also examines how informed he is about the ideas underlying the non-Jewish practices he approves or disapproves of. Maimonides' rulings about Christianity always deal with it in comparison to Islam and to ‘paganism’. Islam and Christianity are, for Maimonides, the two other rival religions his contemporary Jews must still take seriously, just as paganism was the rival religion Jews had to take seriously before the rise of either Christianity or Islam. The question of whether paganism is still present in Christianity or Islam is of great concern to Maimonides when differentiating between these two other religions and their adherents. All paganism, whether involving the worship of a plurality of gods (polytheism) or the use of images in worship (idolatry), is to be combated in every way. But are all non-Jewish religions polytheistic and are all their adherents idolaters? The chapter also looks at the normative implications of Maimonides' treatment of Christianity for Jewish praxis today.

Keywords:   Maimonides, Christianity, religious praxis, non-Jewish practices, Islam, paganism, Jews, non-Jewish religions, Jewish praxis

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