Neoplatonism Through the Renaissance


Why is Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed still considered a great philosophical text?

Maimonides (1135–1204) addresses his Guide to contemporary educated men who were intellectually torn between the claims of Greek science and religion. Maimonides’ intention in writing seems to be to help his readers understand philosophy, without giving up their religion. To weed out or not upset readers who lacked the mental fire power to follow his reasoning, he said that he deliberately scattered Aristotelian insights throughout the text, instead of putting those together that first occurred together. He often stated both a position and its opposite. In other words, Maimonides’ first step toward guiding those already confused was to deepen their confusion. But because Maimonides deepened existing confusions so brilliantly, his Guide of the Perplexed has attracted lasting scholarly disputation.


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