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Synopsis

IT is the object of this work "to afford a guide for the perplexed," i.e. "to thinkers whose studies have brought them into collision with religion" (p. 9), "who have studied philosophy and have acquired sound knowledge, and who, while firm in religions matters, are perplexed and bewildered on account of the ambiguous and figurative expressions employed in the holy writings (p. 5). Joseph, the son of Jehudah Ibn Aknin, a disciple of Maimonides, is addressed by his teacher as an example of this kind of students. It was "for him and for those like him" that the treatise was composed, and to him this work is inscribed in the dedicatory letter with which the Introduction begins. Maimonides, having discovered that his disciple was sufficiently advanced for an exposition of the esoteric ideas in the books of the Prophets, commenced to give him such expositions "by way of hints." His disciple then begged him to give him further explanations, to treat of metaphysical themes, and to expound the system and the method of the Kalām, or Mohammedan Theology. 1 In compliance with this request, Maimonides composed the Guide of the Perplexed.

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