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MAIMONIDES

A Guide for the Perplexed

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When reading my present treatise, bear in mind that by "faith" we do not understand merely that which is uttered with the lips, but also that which is apprehended by the soul, the conviction that the object [of belief] is exactly as it is apprehended. If, as regards real or supposed truths, you content yourself with giving utterance to them in words, without apprehending them or believing in them, especially if you do not seek real truth, you have a very easy task as, in fact, you will find many ignorant people professing articles of faith without connecting any idea with them.

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… here departs from his master, and holds that the spheres and the intellects had a beginning, and were brought into existence by the will of the Creator. He does not attempt to give a positive proof of his doctrine; all he contends is that the theory of the creatio ex nihilo is, from a philosophical point of view, not inferior to the doctrine which asserts the eternity of the universe, and that he can refute all objections advanced against his theory.

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If God were corporeal, He would consist of atoms, and would not be one; or He would be comparable to other beings: but a comparison implies the existence of similar and of dissimilar elements, and God would thus not be one. A corporeal God would be finite, and an external power would be required to define those limits.
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According to Maimonides, the moral faculty would, in fact, not have been required, if man had remained a purely rational being. It is only through the senses that “the knowledge of good and evil” has become indispensable. The narrative of Adam’s fall is, according to Maimonides, an allegory representing the relation which exists between sensation, moral faculty, and intellect.

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