The Guide for the Perplexed (Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading) (Kobo eBook)
The Guide for the Perplexed is the literary masterpiece of Moses Maimonides, perhaps the greatest Jewish thinker of the Middle Ages if not all time. The work’s historical importance is insured merely by the fact that it was the primary conduit through which the rationalism of Aristotle’s philosophy was transmitted from medieval Arabic high culture to Christian theologians such as Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas. In this way Aristotle was reintroduced into the Western culture to which he has been lost for almost a millennium, and it was through the rediscovery of Aristotle that the first seeds of Renaissance humanism and early modern scientific optimism were sown. But the historical, philosophical, and spiritual importance of The Guide for the Perplexed is so extensive and diverse as to be nearly immeasurable. It is one of the rare perfect jewels of world spiritual literature, a profound and timeless statement of man’s relation to himself, to God, and to society. Yet it is simultaneously, as Maimonides acknowledges in his introduction, an intellectual labyrinth, permeated by contradiction. It offers modern readers, like their medieval predecessors, a stiff challenge: do you have the tenacity to penetrate the interrelated paradoxes of The Guide for the Perplexed, the mind, and the universe in order to join the fortunate few who have glimpsed the ultimate truths of existence?