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Maimonides the UniversalistThe Ethical Horizons of the Mishneh Torah$
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Menachem Kellner and David Gillis

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781906764555

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906764555.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Maimonides the Universalist
Menachem Kellner, David Gillis
Liverpool University Press

This chapter attempts to assemble a picture of what Maimonides sees when he lifts his gaze from the technical details of halakhah. It stresses that the vision that Maimonides sees is universalist as all the Mishneh torah is a code of Jewish law. It also discusses weak universalism, which is to say that Maimonides sees the commandments of the Torah as a particular means to a universal end. The chapter explains that the universal end is that of Torah in the larger sense, which, according to Maimonides, encompasses the universal disciplines of physics and metaphysics. It considers the universal disciplines as the pinnacle of Torah study, representing the content of what the rabbis called ma'aseh bereshit and ma'aseh merkavah, or collectively, pardes.

Keywords:   Maimonides, Mishneh torah, Jewish law, Torah study, pardes

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