Experience the wisdom of Maimonides, arguably the most significant Jewish thinker of all time, whose approach to biblical interpretation and philosophy remains relevant for all who follow a religion based on sacred text and oral interpretation.
Translation and Annotation by Rabbi Marc D. Angel, PhD
5½ x 8½, 224 pp | 978-1-59473-311-6
The teachings of Judaism’s greatest medieval philosopher can be a companion on your own spiritual journey.
No Jewish thinker has had a more significant impact on Jewish religious thought than Moses Maimonides (1138–1204). A medieval philosopher whose vision covered an extensive range, he created a method of mediating between revelation and reason that laid the groundwork for a rational, philosophically sophisticated Judaism. He also provided an approach to biblical interpretation and philosophy that remains relevant for people of all faiths who follow a religion based on sacred text and oral interpretation.
In this accessible examination of Maimonides’s theological and philosophical teachings, Rabbi Marc D. Angel opens up for us Maimonides’s views on the nature of God, providence, prophecy, free will, human nature, repentance and more. He explores basic concepts of faith that Maimonides posits must serve as the basis for proper religious life. He also examines Maimonides’s insights on reward and punishment, messianic days, the world to come and other tenets of Jewish faith.
Now you can experience the wisdom of Maimonides even if you have no previous knowledge of Judaism or Jewish philosophy. SkyLight Illuminations provides insightful yet unobtrusive commentary that reveals why Maimonides’s teachings continue to have profound relevance to those seeking an intellectually vibrant understanding of Judaism.
“Accessible and authoritative.... Gracefully traces the contours of Maimonides’s attempt to liberate Judaism from particularism and obscurantism. A wonderful and refreshing achievement.”
—Dr. Menachem Kellner, Department of Jewish History and Thought, University of Haifa; author, Must a Jew Believe Anything?
“Elucidate[s] and clarif[ies] with particular skill [and] renders some of the complexities of Maimonides’s though into everyday language. [A] worthy addition to the SkyLight Illuminations canon.”
—Rabbi Dr. Charles H. Middleburgh, director of Jewish studies, Leo Baeck College
“Illuminates for us new ways of perceiving Maimonides’s halakhic, intellectual and spiritual understanding of Judaism ... and the meaning we can derive for our own lives.”
—Dr. Adena K. Berkowitz, scholar in residence, Kol HaNeshamah, New York City
“An invaluable new translation ... a valuable overview of Maimonides’s theological thought [and] a very helpful, lucid commentary that makes the work accessible.”
—Dr. Howard Wettstein, editor, Midwest Studies in Philosophy; professor of philosophy, University of California
“Filled with ... insightful interpretation.... Readers will gain much.”
“Elegant, profound, accessible and challenging. Those who wish to walk the Golden Mean of Jewish tradition, while yet being drawn into a rational and faith-filled consideration of … our shared obligation to gain access both to human wisdom and Divine truth would do well to read and re-read this spiritual gem.”
—Rabbi Stanley M. Davids, DD, rabbi emeritus, Temple Emanu-El, Atlanta, Georgia
“[A] lucid and important book ... that brings the full spectrum of the teachings of the great Maimonides within the grasp of any Jew hoping to deepen their understanding and practice of their faith. Beautifully written and beautifully explained.”
—Naomi Ragen, author, The Tenth Song and other bestselling novels
“Guides the reader through this important material.... Should be in every Judaica library.... highly recommend[ed] ... elegant and useful.”
—Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter
“Brings freshness and insight to [these] foundational theological and philosophical texts.... An invaluable new resource for another generation of those seeking to understand the inextricable relationships that exist between faith and reason.”
—The Rev. Walter J. Smith, SJ, PhD, president and CEO, HealthCare Chaplaincy, New York City
Laws of Foundations of the Torah 3
Laws Relating to Moral and Ethical Character 43
Laws of Torah Study 71
Laws of Idolatry 89
Laws of Repentance 105
Thirteen Principles of Faith 151
Selected Bibliography 176