Searching for a Distant God: The Legacy of Maimonides

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Oxford University Press, 2000 - Religion - 252 pages
Monotheism is usually considered Judaism's greatest contribution to world culture, but it is far from clear what monotheism is. This work examines the notion that monotheism is not so much a claim about the number of God as a claim about the nature of God. Seeskin argues that the idea of a God who is separate from his creation and unique is not just an abstraction but a suitable basis for worship. He examines this conclusion in the contexts of prayer, creation, sabbath observance, repentance, religious freedom, and love of God. Maimonides plays a central role in the argument both because of his importance to Jewish self-understanding and because he deals with the question of how philosophic ideas are embodied in religious ritual.
 

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Contents

One The Urge to Philosophize
3
Two The Challenge of Monotheism
23
Three Speaking of and to God
43
Four The Problem of Creation
66
Five Imitatio Dei
91
Six Monotheism and Freedom
124
Seven Popular Religion and a Personal God
142
Esotericism and the Limits of Knowledge A Critique of Strauss
177
Notes
189
Bibliography
229
General Index
243
Index of Principal Sources
249
Copyright

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About the author (2000)

Kenneth Seeskin is at Northwestern University.

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