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Philosophy and Law

Contributions to the Understanding of Maimonides and His Predecessors

Leo Strauss, Eve Adler

Publication Year: 1995

A groundbreaking study of the political philosophy of Maimonides and his Islamic predecessors. Leo Strauss’s Philosophy and Law contains a groundbreaking study of the political philosophy of Maimonides and his Islamic predecessors, and it offers an argument on behalf of that philosophy which is also a profound critique of modern philosophy. Here is an entirely new and complete English translation of Strauss’s work, which takes as its ideal the exacting standards of accuracy that Strauss himself emphasized in his own work. It includes a prefatory essay introducing the argument of each of the four sections of Philosophy and Law. This is a fresh and challenging treatment of the perennial conflict between reason and revelation, or philosophy and religion. Strauss’s key contention in this book is that the most influential modern approaches to this conflict have run aground in ways that reflect their loss of key insights developed by the medieval philosophers of Islam and their Jewish pupils, especially Maimonides. Strauss challenges the modern view that scientific enlightenment must ultimately amount to atheism, and that therefore there can be no such thing as enlightened religion. Through a careful, original, and detailed treatment of central works of the medieval Islamic-Jewish tradition, especially Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed, Strauss aims to recover their key insights into this question.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Front Matter

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Contents

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pp. v-vii

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Translator's Introduction: The Argument of Philosophy and Law

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pp. 1-20

Leo Strauss's Philosophy and Law (Philosophie und Gesetz: Beitriige zum Verstiindnis Maimunis und Seiner Vorlaiifer, Berlin: Schocken Verlag, 1935) contains a groundbreaking study of the political philosophy of Maimonides and his Islamic predecessors, ...

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Introduction

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pp. 21-40

In a phrase of Hermann Cohen, Maimonides is the "classic of rationalism" in Judaism. This phrase appears to us to be correct in a stricter sense than Cohen may have intended: Maimonides' rationalism is the true natural model, the standard to be carefully protected from any distortion, ...

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CHAPTER 1. The Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns in the Philosophy of Judaism: Notes on Julius Guttmann, The Philosophy of Judaism

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pp. 41-80

There is no inquiry into the history of philosophy that is not at the same time a philosophical inquiry. Without question there is a longstanding need in scholarship for a handbook of the history of the philosophy of Judaism resting throughout on the most thorough knowledge both of the sources and of previous studies of them; ...

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CHAPTER 2. The Legal Foundation of Philosophy: The Commandment to Philosophize and the Freedom of Philosophizing

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pp. 81-100

The men whose teachings offer the readiest access to the philosophic and hence unbelieving basis of medieval Jewish (and Islamic) philosophy, the medieval rationalists, developed in greater or lesser detail and coherence a legal foundation of philosophy, that is, a defense of philosophizing before the bar of revelation. ...

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CHAPTER 3. The Philosophic Foundation of the Law: Maimonides's Doctrine of Prophecy and its Sources

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pp. 101-134

Prophetology is a central part of the doctrine of the Guide of the Perplexed. Some conception of its difficulties2 is given by the list of conditions which, according to Maimonides's doctrine, the prophet must satisfy. The prophet must have at his disposal: (1) a perfect intellect; (2) perfect morals; (3) a perfect imagination; ...

Notes

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pp. 135-154

Index

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pp. 155-159


E-ISBN-13: 9781438421438
E-ISBN-10: 1438421435
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791419755
Print-ISBN-10: 0791419754

Page Count: 157
Publication Year: 1995

Series Title: SUNY series in the Jewish Writings of Leo Strauss
Series Editor Byline: Kenneth Hart Green