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Abraham Maimonides' Wars of the Lord and the Maimonidean Controversy

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Abraham Maimonides' Wars of the Lord and the Maimonidean Controversy

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Abraham Maimonides' Wars of the Lord and the Maimonidean Controversy
By Abraham Maimonides
Translated by Fred Rosner
Contributor, Jacob I. Dienstag
(Reprint Edition)
Maimonides Research Instritute, (2001)

Reviewed by Israel Drazin - April 1, 2010

Many, though not all, rabbis were fearful of Maimonides' philosophical writings for numerous reasons, including the concern that philosophy would lead Jews away from observing Jewish practices. There were even rabbis who thought that the subject of philosophy was alien to Judaism and akin to idol worship. Some proposed that a ban be established prohibiting the study of Maimonides' philosophical works. A number of rabbis were also concerned that Maimonides' code of Jewish law would stop Jews from studying the Talmud.

Numerous rabbis supported Maimonides, and heated conflicts ensued. The dispute began during Maimonides' lifetime and continued for years after his death. Maimonides' supporters requested that his son Abraham write a defense of his father's works.

Abraham wrote the defense. It does not contain a detailed philosophical justification of his father's writings, apparently because Abraham felt that his father's works were clear and did not need further explanation. He stated that his father's writings were correct and supported them with biblical passages and rabbinical assertions, using strong language to demonstrate his support of his father and his opposition to Maimonides' opponents.

Abraham emphasized the importance of knowledge, that Midrashim and figures of speech in Torah should not be taken literally, and the essential belief that God is not corporeal, following in his father's footsteps.

Rosner describes the conflict and Abraham's involvement very well.

Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of seventeen books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible, which he co-authors with Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, and a series of four books on the twelfth century philosopher Moses Maimonides. The Orthodox Union (OU) and Yeshiva University publish weekly chapters of Drazin and Wagner's book Let's Study Onkelos on and on His website is

The views expressed in this review/article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Jewish Eye.
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