Undergraduate Course Code: POL421H1S L0101
Maimonides and His Modern Interpreters
The course offers an introduction to the seminal work of Jewish philosophy, The Guide of the Perplexed, by Moses Maimonides. We will delve into some of the basic themes of Jewish philosophical theology and religion as they are treated by Maimonides. Through close textual study of the Guide, a broad range of such topics might be considered, such as: the question of biblical interpretation and its proper method; dialectical theology and the status of imagination; what is prophecy and revelation?; providence; theodicy and the problem of evil; divine law versus human law; what is the perfect state or political order, and how is it best achieved?; the search for wisdom and the character of human perfection. Readings in some of the leading modern interpreters of Maimonides and the Guide (such as Julius Guttmann, Leo Strauss, and Shlomo Pines) will also be examined.
The main text will be: Moses Maimonides, The Guide of the Perplexed, trans. Shlomo Pines (University of Chicago Press); Leo Strauss, Persecution and the Art of Writing.
Format and Requirements
Among the class assignments will be: two class presentations; two papers; class participation.