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Synopsis

The Guide for the Perplexed
by Moses Maimonides, M. Freidländer, tr.

Maimonides' masterful summation of theology, natural philosophy and divine law.

The Guide consists of three books. The first book deals with the nature of God, concluding that God cannot be described in positive terms. He uses this argument to systematically deconstruct the Islamic Kalam literalist school of thought, which anthropomorphized God. The second book examines natural philosophy, particularly Aristotle's system of concentric spheres, and theories of the creation and duration of the universe, and the theory of angels and prophecy. In the last Book, he expounds the mystical Merkabah section of Ezekiel, skirting the traditional prohibition of direct explanation of this passage. After this he covers the 613 laws of the Pentateuch, organized into 14 branches, attempting to present rational explanations for each law. Throughout, Maimonides stresses that the student needs to consider all theories.

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