Maimonides and Latin Scholasticism
In this essay, I am only concerned with the Maimonides Latinus, the one whose texts the scholastic thinkers of mediaeval Latin Europe could and did read in their own language, and whom they called, with marked respect, the “Rabbi Moyses.” In this perspective, we are less interested in Maimonides himself and the historic authenticity of his thought than in the question, how his Latin readers understood him: What was Maimonides’ “image” in the mind of the scholastics? Of course, the answer to this question will probably teach us more about his readers than about himself. Nevertheless, the question is not only legitimate but also necessary, if we want to assess the meaning of Maimonides’ achievement historically. For the historical meaning of ideas is not determined by their author’s intentions alone, but just as well by their effects on other minds, the way in which they were transferred and transformed, perhaps misunderstood, and rearranged, taken from their context and brought out anew in another one. Therefore, the question posed here is not marginal: the “Rabbi Moyses” of the Latins is, historically considered, that is, for his readers, the real one, or at least part of that reality which historians have to consider.
KeywordsIntelligible Structure Marked Respect Negative Theology Islamic Philosophy Scientific World View
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