Download Maimonides on the Decline of the Generations and the Nature by Menachem Kellner PDF

By Menachem Kellner

Indicates to what volume and in what type Jews are certain to settle for the evaluations and the pronouncements of spiritual specialists. Moses Maimonides, medieval Judaism's best legist and thinker, and a determine of primary significance for modern Jewish self-understanding, held a view of Judaism which maintained the authority of the Talmudic rabbis in concerns of Jewish legislations whereas taking into consideration loose and open inquiry in issues of technology and philosophy. Maimonides affirmed, no longer the prevalence of the "moderns" (the students of his and next generations) over the "ancients" (the Tannaim and Amoraim, the Rabbis of the Mishnah and Talmud) however the inherent equality of the 2. The equality provided here's now not equality of halakhic authority, yet equality of skill, of crucial human features. on the way to substantiate those claims, Kellner explores the similar concept that Maimonides doesn't undertake the concept of "the decline of the generations", in keeping with which every succeeding new release, or every one succeeding epoch, is in a few major and religiously correct feel not so good as previous generations or epochs.

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Additional resources for Maimonides on the Decline of the Generations and the Nature of Rabbinic Authority (SUNY Series in Jewish Philosophy)

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14 Maimonides tells us here that if things can be explained naturalistically, they should be explained in that fashion, For an event to be considered a miracle, it must satisfy two criteria: it must be explicitly identified as such, and no naturalistic explanation for it is forthcoming. " In the closing pages of the Treatise on Resurrection, Maimonides returns to the issue of miracles, clarifying that miracles can occur within "the realm of the naturally impos~,ible," such as changing a rod into a serpent (something which never happens in nature) or within "the realm of the naturally possible," such as the plague of locusts in Egypt.

Note should be made of the fact that Rav Sherira wrote his essay at the height of the Rabbanite-Karaite debate and may very likely have been influenced by that debateY The polemical aspect of his work, defending the truth and authority of the rabbinic tradition, is thus seen more clearly. If this is true, it is significant for two reasons: (a) it supports my claim that Rav Sherira was the first to present the decline of the generations as a systematic ideology (doing so in response to the Karaite threat, not because the doctrine was clearly and explicitly held by his predecessors); and (b) it throws Maimonides' failure to adopt the doctrine into sharper contrast.

Maimonides explains: Thus he imparts in this verse the information that the world is a work of the deity and that it is eternal a parte post. He also states the cause of its being eternal a parte post; namely, in his words, nothing can be added to it, nor any thing taken from it. For this is the cause of its being forever. It is as if 27 28 Maimonides on the "Decline of the Generations" he said that the thing that is changed, is changed because of a deficiency in it that should be made good or because of some excess that is not needed and should be got rid of.

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