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THE MOREH NEBUCHIM LITERATURE
I. The Arabic Text. — The editio princeps, the only edition of the original text of the Guide (in Arabic, Dĕlil, or Dalalat a1-ḥaïrin), was undertaken and executed by the late S. Munk. Its title is: Le Guide des Égarés, traité de Théologie et de Philosophie par Moïse ben Maimon, publié pour la première fois dans l’original Arabe, et accompagné d’une traduction Française et de notes critiques, littéraires et explicatives, par S. Munk (Paris, 1850-1866). The plan was published, 1833, in Reflexions sur le culte des anciens Hébreux (La Bible, par S. Cahen, vol. iv.), with a specimen of two chapters of the Third Part. The text adopted has been selected from the several MSS. at his disposal with great care and judgment. Two Leyden MSS. (cod. 18 and 221), various MSS. of the Bibliothèque Nationale (No. 760, very old; 761 and 758, written by R. Saadia Ibn Danan), and some MSS. of the Bodleian Library were consulted. In the notes which accompany the French translation, the various readings of the different MSS. are fully discussed. At the end of the third volume a list is added of “Variantes des Manuscrits Arabes et des deux Versions Hébraïques.”
The library of the British Museum possesses two copies of the Arabic text; the one Or. 1423 is complete, beautifully written, with explanatory notes in the margin and between the lines. The name of the copyist is not mentioned, nor the date when it has been written. The volume has in the beginning an incomplete index to the Scriptural passages referred to in the Guide, and at the end fragments of Psalm cxli. in Arabic and of astronomical tables.
The second copy of the Dalalat al-ḥaïrin is contained in the MS. Or. 2423, written in large Yemen Rabbinic characters. It is very fragmentary. The first fragment begins with the last paragraph of the introduction; there are a few marginal notes in Hebrew.
In the Bodleian Library there are the following copies of the Dalalat al-ḥaïrin according to the Catal, of Hebr. MSS. by Dr. A. Neubauer: —
No. 1236. The text is preceded by Jehudah al-Charizi’s index of the contents of the chapters, and by an index of Biblical quotations. In the margin there are notes, containing omissions, by different hands, two in Arabic characters. The volume was written 1473.
No. 1237. The Arabic text, with a few marginal notes containing various readings; the text is preceded by three Hebrew poems, beginning, De’i holek, Bi-sedeh tebunot; and Binu be-dat Mosheh. Fol. 212 contains a fragment of the book (III., xxix.).
No. 1238. Text with a few marginal notes.
No. 1239. The end of the work is wanting in this copy. The second part has forty-nine chapters, as the introduction to Part II. is counted as chapter i.; Part III. has fifty-six chapters, the introduction being counted as chapter i., and chapter xxiv. being divided into two chapters. The index of passages from the Pentateuch follows the ordinary mode of counting the chapters of the Guide.
No. 1240. Arabic text transcribed in Arabic characters by Saadiah b. Levi Azankoṭ for Prof. Golius in 1645.
No. 1245. First part of the Dalalat al-haïrin, written by Saadiah b. Mordecai b. Mosheh in the year 1431.
No. 1242 contains the same Part, but incomplete.
Nos. 1243, 1244, 1245, and 1246 contain Part II. of the Arabic text, incomplete in Nos. 1245 and 1246.
Nos. 1247, 1248, and 1249 have Part III.; it is incomplete in Nos. 1248 and 1249.
No. 1249 was written 1291, and begins with III, viii.
A fragment of the Arabic text, the end of Part III., is contained in No. 407, 2.
No. 2508 includes a fragment of the original (I. ii.-xxxii.), with a Hebrew interlineary translation of some words and a few marginal notes. It is written in Yemen square characters, and is marked as “holy property of the Synagogue of Alsiani.”
A fragment (I. i.) of a different recension from the printed is contained in 2422, 16. On the margin the Commentaries of Shem-ṭob and Ephodi are added in Arabic.
A copy of the Dalalat is also contained in the Berlin Royal Library MS. Or. Qu., 579 (105 Cat. Steinschneider); it is defective in the beginning and at the end.
The Cairo Genizah at Cambridge contains two fragments (a) I. lxiv. and beginning of lxv; (b) II. end of xxxii. and xxxiii. According to Dr. H. Hirschfeld, Jewish Quarterly Review (vol. xv. p. 677), they are in the handwriting of Maimonides.
The valuable collection of MSS. in the possession of Dr. M. Gaster includes a fragment of the Dalalat-al-ḥaïrin (Codex 605). II. xiii — xv., beginning and end defective.
II. Translations. a. Hebrew. — As soon as European Jews heard of the existence of this work, they procured its translation into Hebrew. Two scholars, independently of each other, undertook the task: Samuel Ibn Tibbon and Jehudah al-Harizi. There is, besides, in the Moreh ha-moreh of Shemtob Palquera an original translation of some portions of the Moreh. In the Sifte yeshenim (No. 112) a rhymed translation of the Dalalat by Rabbi Mattityahu Kartin is mentioned. Ibn Tibbon’s version is very accurate; he sacrificed elegance of style to the desire of conscientiously reproducing the author’s work, and did not even neglect a particle, however unimportant it may appear. Ibn Tibbon went in his anxiety to retain peculiarities of the original so far as to imitate its ambiguities, e.g., meẓiut (I. lviii.) is treated as a masculine noun, only in order to leave it doubtful whether a pronoun which follows agrees with meẓiut, “existence,” or with nimẓa, “existing being,” both occurring in the same sentence (Br. Mus. MS. Harl. 7586, marg. note by Ibn Tibbon). When he met with passages that offered any difficulty he consulted Maimonides. Harizi, on the other hand, was less conscientious about words and particles, but wrote in a superior style. Vox populi, however, decided in favour of the version of Ibn Tibbon, the rival of which became almost forgotten. Also Abraham, the son of Moses Maimonides, in Milḥamoth ha-shem, describes Harizi’s version as being inaccurate. Most of the modern translations were made from Ibn Tibbon’s version. There are, therefore, MSS. of this version almost in every library containing collections of Hebrew books and MSS. It has the title Moreh-nebuchim. The British Museum has the following eight copies of Ibn Tibbon’s version.: —
Harl. 7586 A. This codex was written in the year 1284, for Rabbi Shabbatai ben Rabbi Mattityahu. In the year 1340 it came into the possession of Jacob b. Shelomoh; his son Menahem sold it in the year 1378 to R. Mattityahu, son of R. Shabbatai, for fifty gold florins. It was again sold in the year 1461 by Yehiel ben Joab. There is, this peculiarity in the writing, that long words at the end of a line are divided, and written half on the one line, half on the next; in words which are vocalized, pataḥ is frequently found for ḳameẓ. There are numerous various readings in the margin. The text is preceded by a poem, written by Joseph Ibn Aknin, pupil of Maimonides, in praise of his master, and beginning Adon yiẓro. This poem is attributed to R. Yehudah ha-Levi (Luzzatto, in his Divan, Betulat-bat-Yehudah, p. 104). At the end the copyist adds an epigram, the translation of which is as follows: —
“The Moreh is finished — Praise to Him who formed and created everything — written for the instruction and benefit of the few whom the Lord calleth. Those who oppose the Moreh ought to be put to death; but those who study and understand it deserve that Divine Glory rest upon them, and inspire them with a spirit from above.”
Harl. 7586 B. This codex, much damaged in the beginning and at the end, contains the version of Ibn Tibbon, with marginal notes, consisting of words omitted in the text, and other corrections. The version is followed by the poems Ḳarob meod, etc., and De’i holek, etc.
Harl. 5507 contains the Hebrew version of Ibn Tibbon, with the translator’s preface and marginal notes, consisting of various readings and omissions from the text. The work of Maimonides is followed by Ibn Tibbon’s Vocabulary (millot-zarot), Mesharet-mosheh, ‘Arugot ha-mezimmah, Millot higgayon, Ruaḥ-ḥen, Alfarabi’s Hatḥalot, a Hebrew-Italian vocabulary of logical terms, and an explanation of koṭeb. The passage in Part I., chap. lxxi., which refers to Christianity, has been erased.
Harl. 5525 was the property of Shimshon Kohen Modon. The MS. begins with Ḥarizi’s Kavvanat ha-peraḳim; then follows the text, with a few marginal notes of a later hand, mostly adverse criticisms and references to ‘Arama’s ‘Aḳedah and the Biblical commentaries of Abarbanel. There is also a note in Latin. The text is followed by Ibn Tibbon’s Vocabulary (Millot-zarot) and Masoret ha-pesuḳim (Index to the Biblical quotations in the Moreh). In a poem, beginning Moreh asher mennu derakav gabehu, the Moreh is compared to a musical instrument, which delights when played by one that understands music, but is spoiled when touched by an ignorant person.
Add. 27068 (Almanzi coll.). At the end the following remark is added: I, Samuel Ibn Tibbon, finished the translation of this work in the month of Tebet 4965 (1205). The text is preceded by the well-known epigrams, De’ï holek and Moreh-nebuchim sa shelomi; the last page contains the epigram Ḳarob meod. There are some notes in the margin, mostly referring to various readings.
Add. 14763. This codex, written 1273 at Viterbo, contains the preface of Ḥarizi to his translation of the Moreh and his index of contents, Ibn Tibbon’s version with a few marginal notes of different hands, including some remarks of the translator, and the contents of the chapters. The codex contains besides the following treatises: Commentary of Maimonides on Abot; Comm. of Maim. on Mishnah Sanhedrin x. 1; Letter of Maimonides on the Resurrection of the Dead; Vocabulary of difficult words by Samuel Ibn Tibbon; Maimonides’ Letter to the wise men of Marseilles; his Letter to Rabbi Jonathan; Keter-malkut, Mesharet-mosheh, Ruaḥ-ḥen, Otot ha-shamayim, translated from the Arabic by Samuel Ibn Tibbon; Hatḥalot ha-nimẓaot, of Alfarabi; Sefer ha-ḥappuaḥ, Mishle ḥamishim ha-talmidim; on the seven zones of the earth; a fragment of a chronicle from the exile of Babylon down to the fourth year of the Emperor Nicepheros of Constantinople, and a poem, which begins asher yishal, and has the following sense: — “If one asks the old and experienced for advice, you may expect his success in all he undertakes but if one consults the young, remember the fate of Rehoboam, son of Solomon.”
Add. 4764. In addition to the Hebrew version of Ibn Tibbon (from end of I. xxvii.) with a few marginal notes and index, the codex contains at the end of Part I. an Index of references made by the author to explanations given in preceding or succeeding chapters. At the end of the text the statement is added, that the translation was finished in the month of Tebet 968 (1208). The Moreh is followed by Ruaḥ-ḥen, and Ibn Tibbon’s Vocabulary of millot-zarot (incomplete), and is preceded by four poems in praise of the Moreh, beginning Shim’u nebone leb, Moreh nebuchim sa shelomi, De’ï holek and Nofet maḥkim.
Bibl. Reg. 16 A, xi. This codex, written in Prov. curs, characters in the year 1308, has in front a fragment of III. i., then follows the poem of Meshullam, beginning Yehgu mezimmotai (Grätz Leket-shoshannim, p. 151), and other poems.
The following MS. copies of Ibn Tibbon’s version are included in the Oxford Bodleian Library; the numbers refer to Dr. Neubauer’s catalogue of the MSS.: —
1250. An index of the passages from the Bible referred to in the work, and an index of the contents precede the version. The marginal note, contain chiefly omissions.
1251. This codex was written in 1675. The marginal notes contain omissions and explanations.
1252. The marginal notes contain the translator’s remarks on I. lxxiv. 4, and III. xlvii. The version is followed by Ibn Tibbon’s vocabulary, and his additional remarks on the reasons for the commandments. The MS. was bought by Samuel ben Moses from a Christian after the pillage of Padua, where it had belonged to a Synagogue of foreigners (lo’azim); he gave it to a Synagogue of the same character at Mantua.
1253. The marginal notes include that of the translator on III. xlvii.
1254, 1. Text with marginal note, containing omissions.
1255. The marginal notes include those of the translator on I. xlvi. and lxxiv. 5.
1256. The marginal notes contain various reading, notes relating to Ḥarizi’s, translation and the Arabic text; on fol. 80 there is a note in Latin. There are in this codex six epigrams concerning the Moreh.
1257. Text incomplete; with marginal notes.
Fragments of the Version are contained in the following codices: 2047, 3, p.65; 2283, 8; 2309, 2, and 2336.
Among the MS. copies of the Moreh in the Bibl. Nat. in Paris, there is one that has been the property of R. Eliah Mizraḥi, and another that had been in the hands of Azariah de Rossi (No. 685 and No. 691); the Günzburg Library (Paris) possesses a copy (No. 771), that was written 1452 by Samuel son of Isaac for Rabbi Moses de Leon, and Eliah del Medigo’s copy of the Moreh is in the possession of Dr. Ginsburg (London); it contains six poems, beginning Moreh nebuchim sa; Emet mareh emet; Bi-leshon esh; Mahba‘aru; Kamu more shav.
The editio princeps of this version has no statement as to where and when it was printed, and is without pagination. According to Fürst (Bibliogr.) it is printed before 1480. The copy in the British Museum has some MS. notes. Subsequent editions contain besides the Hebrew text the Commentaries of Shem-ṭob and Efodi, and the index of contents by Ḥarizi (Venice, 1551, fol.); also the Comm. of Crescas and Vocabulary of Ibn Tibbon (Sabionetta, 1553, fol.; Jessnitz, 1742, fol. etc.); the Commentaries of Narboni and S. Maimon (Berlin, 1791); the commentaries of Efodi, Shem-ṭob, Crescas and Abarbanel (Warsaw, 1872, 4to); German translation and Hebrew Commentary (Biur) Part I. (Krotoschin, 1839, 8vo); German translation and notes, Part II. (Wien. 1864), Part III. (Frankfort-a-M., 1838).
The Hebrew version of Ibn Tibbon (Part I. to ch. lxxii.) has been translated into Mishnaic Hebrew by M. Levin (Zolkiew, 1829, 4to).
There is only one MS. known of Ḥarizi’s version, viz., No. 682 of the Bibliothèque Nationale at Paris. It has been edited by L. Schlosberg, with notes. London, 1851 (Part I.), 1876 (II.), and 1879 (III.). The notes on Part I. were supplied by S. Scheyer.
The first Latin translation of the Moreh has been discovered by Dr. J. Perles among the Latin MSS. of the Munic Library, Catal. Cod. latinorum bibl. regiae Monacensis, tom. 1, pars iii. pag. 208 (Kaish. 36 b), 1700 (7936 b). This version is almost identical with that edited by Augustinus Justinianus, Paris, 1520, and is based on Harizi’s Hebrew version of the Moreh. The name of the translator is not mentioned. In the Commentary of Moses, son of Solomon, of Salerno, on the Moreh, a Latin translation is quoted, and the quotations agree with this version. It is called by this commentator ha ‘ataḳat ha-noẓrit (“the Christian translation”), and its author, ha-ma ‘atiḳ ha-noẓer (lit. “the Christian translator”). Dr. Perles is, however, of opinion that these terms do not necessarily imply that a Christian has made this translation, as the word noẓer may have been used here for “Latin.” He thinks that it is the result of the combined efforts of Jewish and Christian scholars connected with the court of the German Emperor Frederic II., especially as in the thirteenth century several Jewish scholars distinguished themselves by translating Oriental works into Latin. See Grätz Monatschrift, 1875, Jan.-June, “Die in einer Münchener Handschrift aufgefundene erste lateinische Uebersetzung,” etc., von Dr. J. Perles. The title has been variously rendered into Latin: Director neutrorum, directorium dubitantium, director neutrorum, nutantium or dubitantium; doctor perplexorum.
Gedaliah ibn Yahyah, in Shalshelet ha-ḳabbalah, mentions a Latin translation of the Moreh by Jacob Monteno: but nothing is known of it, unless it be the anonymous translation of the Munich MS., mentioned above. Augustinus Justinianus edited this version (Paris, 1520), with slight alterations and a great number of mistakes. Joseph Scaliger’s opinion of this version is expressed in a letter to Casaubonus, as follows: Qui latine vertit, Hebraica, non Arabica, convertit, et quidem sæpe hallucinatur, neque mentem Authoris assequitur. Magna seges mendorum est in Latino. Præter illa quæ ab inertia Interpretis peccata sunt accessit et inertia Librariorum aut Typographorum, e.g., prophetiæ pro philosophiæ; altitudo pro aptitudo; bonitatem pro brevitatem. (Buxtorf, Doctor Perplexorum, Præf.)
Johannes Buxtorfius, Fil., translated the Hebrew version of Ibn Tibbon into Latin (Basileæ, 1629, 4to). In the Præfatio ad Lectorem, the translator discusses the life and the works of Maimonides, and dwells especially on the merits and the fate of the Moreh-nebuchim. The preface is followed by a Hebrew poem of Rabbi Raphael Joseph of Trèves, in praise of an edition of the Moreh containing the Commentaries of Efodi, Shem-tob, and Crescas.
Italian was the first living language into which the Moreh has been translated. This translation was made by Yedidyah ben Moses (Amadeo de Moïse di Recanati), and dedicated by him to “divotissimo e divinissimo Signor mio il Signor Immanuel da Fano” (i.e., the Kabbalist Menaḥem Azarriah). The translator dictated it to his brother Eliah, who wrote it in Hebrew characters; it was finished the 8th of February, 1583. The MS. copy is contained in the Royal Library at Berlin, MS. Or. Qu. 487 (M. Steinschneider Catal., etc.) — The Moreh has been translated into Italian a second time, and annotated by D. J. Maroni: Guida degli Smarriti, Firenze, 1870, fol.
The Moreh has been translated into German by R. Fürstenthal (Part I., Krotoschin, 1839), M. Stern (Part II., Wien, 1864), and S. Scheyer (Part III., Frankfort-a.-M., 1838). The translation is based on Ibn Tibbon’s Hebrew version. The chapters on the Divine Attributes have been translated into German, and fully discussed, by Dr. Kaufmann in his Geschichte der Attributenlehre (Gotha, 1877). An excellent French translation, based on the Arabic original, has been supplied by the regenerator of the Guide, S. Munk. It was published together with the Arabic text (Paris, 1850–1866).
The Moreh has also been translated into the Hungarian language by Dr. Klein. The translation is accompanied by notes (Budapest, 1878–80).
The portion containing the reasons of the Commandments (Part III. ch. xxvi.–xlix.) has been translated into English by James Townley (London, 1827). The translation is preceded by an account on the life and works of Maimonides, and dissertations on various subjects; among others, Talmudical and Rabbinical writings, the Originality of the Institutions of Moses, and Judicial astrology.
III. Commentaries. — It is but natural that in a philosophical work like the Moreh, the reader will meet with passages that at first thought seem unintelligible, and require further explanation, and this want has been supplied by the numerous commentators that devoted their attention to the study of the Moreh. Joseph Solomon del Medigo (1597) saw eighteen Commentaries. The four principal ones he characterizes thus (in imitation of the Hagadah for Passover); Moses Narboni is rasha‘, has no piety, and reveals all the secrets of the Moreh. Shem-ṭob is ḥakam, “wise,” expounds and criticises; Crescas is tam, “simple,” explains the book in the style of the Rabbis; Epodi is she-eno yode‘a lishol, “does not understand to ask,” he simply explains in short notes without criticism (Miktabahuz; ed. A. Geiger, Berlin, 1840, p. 18). The earliest annotations were made by the author himself on those passages, which the first translator of the Moreh was unable to comprehend. They are contained in a letter addressed to Samuel Ibn Tibbon, beginning, lefi siklo yehullal ish (Bodl. Library, No. 2218, s.; comp. The Guide, etc., I. 21, 343; II. 8, 99). Ibn Tibbon, the translator, likewise added a few notes, which are found in the margin of MSS. of the Hebrew version of the Moreh (on I. xlv. lxxiv.; II. xxiv.; and III. xlvii. — MSS. Bodl. 1252, 1; 1253, 1255, 1257; Brit. Mus. Add. 14,763 and 27,068).
Both translators wrote explanations of the philosophical terms employed in the versions. Ḥarizi wrote his vocabulary first, and Ibn Tibbon, in the introductory remarks, to Perush millot zarot (“Explanation of difficult words”), describes his rival’s vocabulary as full of blunders. Ibn Tibbon’s Perush is found almost in every copy of his version, both MS. and print; so also Ḥarizi’s index of the contents of the chapters of the Moreh (Kavvanat ha-peraḳim).
The following is an alphabetical list of Commentaries on the Moreh: —
Abarbanel (Don Isaak) wrote a Commentary on I. i.–lv.; II. xxxi.–xlv., and a separate book Shamayim-ḥadashim, “New Heavens,” on II. xix., in which he fully discusses the question concerning Creatio ex nihilo. The opinion of Maimonides is not always accepted. Thus twenty-seven objections are raised against his interpretation of the first chapter of Ezekiel. These objections he wrote at Molin, in the house of R. Abraham Treves Ẓarfati. The Commentary is followed by a short essay (maamar) on the plan of the Moreh. The method adopted by Abarbanel in all his Commentaries, is also employed in this essay. A series of questions is put forth on the subject, and then the author sets about to answer them. M. J. Landau edited the Commentary without text, with a Preface, and with explanatory notes, called Moreh li-ẓeddakah (Prag. 1831; MS. Bodl. 2385). In addition to these the same author wrote Teshubot “Answers” to several questions asked by Rabbi Shaul ha-Cohen on topics discussed in the Moreh (Venice, 1754).
Abraham Abulafia wrote “Sodot ha-moreh,” or Sitre-torah, a kabbalistic Commentary on the Moreh. He gives the expression, גן עדן (Paradise), for the number (177) of the chapters of the Moreh. MS. Nat. Bibi. 226, 3. Leipsic Libr. 232, 4. MS. Bodl. 2360, 5, contains a portion of Part III.
Buchner A. Ha-moreh li-zedaḳah (Warsaw, 1838). Commentary on “The Reasons of the Laws,” March III. xxix.–xlix. The Commentary is preceded by an account of the life of Maimonides.
Comtino, Mordecai b. Eliezer, wrote a short commentary on the Moreh (Dr. Ginsburg’s collection of MSS. No. 10). Narboni, who “spread light on dark passages in the Guide,” is frequently quoted. Reference is also made to his own commentary on Ibn Ezra’s Yesod-mora.
Crescas (Asher b. Abraham), expresses in the Preface to his Commentary the conviction that he could not always comprehend the right sense of the words of Maimonides, for “there is no searching to his understanding.” He nevertheless thinks that his explanations will help “the young” to study the Moreh with profit. A long poem in praise of Maimonides and his work precedes the Preface. His notes are short and clear, and in spite of his great respect of Maimonides, he now and then criticises and corrects him.
David Yaḥya is named by Joseph Del Medigo (Miktab-aḥaz ed. A. Geiger, Berlin, 1840; p. 18, and note 76), as having written a Commentary on the Moreh.
David ben Yehudah Leon Rabbino wrote ‘En ha-ḳore, MS. Bodl. 1263. He quotes in his Commentary among others ‘Arama’s ‘Akedar yiẓḥak. The Preface is written by Immanuel ben Raphael Ibn Meir, after the death of the author.
Efodi is the name of the Commentary written by Isaac ben Moses, who during the persecution of 1391 had passed as Christian under the name of Profiat Duran. He returned to Judaism, and wrote against Christianity the famous satire “Al tehee kaaboteka” (“Be not like your Fathers”), which misled Christians to cite it as written in favour of Christianity. It is addressed to the apostate En Bonet Bon Giorno. The same author also wrote a grammatical work, Ma‘aseh-efod. The name Efod (אפד), is explained as composed of the initials Amar Profiat Duran. His Commentary consists of short notes, explanatory of the text. The beginning of this Commentary is contained in an Arabic translation in MS. Bodl. 2422, 16.
Ephraim Al-Naqavah in Sha‘or Kebod ha-shem (MS. Bodl. 939,2 and 1258, 2), answers some questions addressed to him concerning the Moreh. He quotes Ḥisdai’s Or adonai.
Fürstenthal, R., translator and commentator of the Maḥzor, added a Biur, short explanatory notes, to his German translation of Part I. of the Moreh (Krotoschin, 1839).
Gershon, Moreh-derek, Commentary on Part I. of the Moreh (MS. Bodl. 1265).
Hillel b. Samuel b. Elazar of Verona explained the Introduction to Part II. (the 25 Propos.). S. H. Halberstam edited this Commentary together with Tagmule ha-nefesh of the same author, for the Society Meḳiẓe-nirdamim (Lyck, 1874).
Joseph ben Aba-mart b. Joseph, of Caspi (Argentière), wrote three Commentaries on the Moreh. The first is contained in a Munich MS. (No. 263); and seems to have been recast by the author, and divided into two separate Commentaries: ‘Ammude Kesef, and Maskiyot Kesef The former was to contain plain and ordinary explanation, whilst profound and mysterious matter was reserved for the second (Steinschn. Cat.). In II., chap. xlviii., Caspi finds fault with Maimonides that he does not place the book of Job among the highest class of inspired writings, “its author being undoubtedly Moses.” These Commentaries have been edited by T. Werblumer (Frankfort-a.-M., 1848). R. Kirchheim added a Hebrew introduction discussing the character of these commentaries, and describing the manuscripts from which these were copied; a Biography of the author is added in German.
Joseph Giqatilia wrote notes on the Moreh, printed with “Questinnn of Shaul ha-kohen” (Venice, 1574. MS. Bodl. 1911, 3).
Joseph b. Isaac ha-Levi’s Gib’ar ha-Moreh is a short Commentary on portions of the Moreh, with notes by R. Yom-tob Heller, the author of Tosafot Yom-tob (Prag., 1612).
Isaac Satanov wrote a commentary on Parts II. and IIII. of the Moreh (see Maimon Solomon p. xxi.).
Isaac ben Shem-ṭob ibn Shem-ṭob wrote a lengthy Commentary on the Moreh, Part I. (MS. Brit. Mus. Or. 1358). The object of the Commentary is to show that there is no contradiction between Maimonides and the Divine Law. He praises Maimonides as a true believer in Creatio ex nihilo, whilst Ibn Ezra and Gersonides assumed a prima materia, (Yoẓer, ḳadosh). Nachmanides is called ha-ḥasid ha-gadol, but is nevertheless blamed, together with Narboni and Zeraḥyah ha-Levi, for criticising Maimonides, instead of trying to explain startling utterances even in “a forced way” (bederek raḥoḳ) and Narboni, “in spite of his wisdom, frequently misunderstood the Moreh.” At the end of each chapter a résumé‚ (derush) of the contents of the chapter is given, and the lesson to be derived from it. The MS. is incomplete, chaps. xlvi.–xlviii. are missing.
Kauffmann, D., in his Geschichte der Atributenlehre, translated Part I. chap. l.–lxiii. into German, and added critical and explanatory notes.
Kalonymos wrote a kind of introduction to the Moreh (Mesharet Mosheh), in which he especially discusses the theory of Maimonides on Providence.
Leibnitz made extracts from Buxtorf’s Latin version of the Moreh, and added his own remarks. Observationes ad R. Mosen Maimoniden (Foucher de Careil, C.A., La Philosophie Juive, 1861).
Levin, M., wrote Allon-moreh as a kind of introduction to his retranslation of Tibbon’s Hebrew version into the language of the Mishnah.
Maimon, Solomon, is the author of Gib‘at; ha-moreh, a lengthy commentary on Book I. (Berlin, 1791). The author is fond of expatiating on topics of modern philosophy. In the introduction he gives a short history of philosophy. The commentary on Books II. and III. was written by Isaac Satanov.
Meir ben Jonah ha-mekunneh Ben-shneor wrote a commentary on the Moreh in Fez 1560 (MS. Bodl. 1262).
Menaḥem Kara expounded the twenty-five propositions enumerated in the Introduction to Part II. of the Moreh (MS. Bodl. 1649, 13).
Mordecai Yaffe, in his Or Yeḳarot or Pinnat Yiḳrat, one of his ten Lebushim, comments upon the theories contained in the Moreh.
Moses, son of Abraham Provençal, explains the passage in Part I. chap. lxxiii. Prop. 3, in which Maimonides refers to the difference between commensurable and incommensurable lines (MS. Bodl. 2033, 8).
Moses, son of Jehudah Nagari, made an index of the subjects treated in the Moreh, indicating in each case the chapters in which allusion is made to the subject. He did so, “in obedience to the advice of Maimonides, to consider the chapters in connected order” (Part I. p. 20). It has been printed together with the questions of Shaul ha-kohen (Venice, 1574).
Moses son of Solomon of Salerno, is one of the earliest expounders of the Moreh. He wrote his commentary on Parts I. and II., perhaps together with a Christian scholar. He quotes the opinion of “the Christian scholar with whom he worked together.” Thus he names Petrus de Bernia and Nicolo di Giovenazzo. R. Jacob Anatoli, author of the Malmed ha-talmidim, is quoted as offering an explanation for the passage from Pirḳe di-rabbi Eliezer, which Mamnonides (II. chap. xxvi.) considers as strange and inexplicable (Part I., written 1439; MS. of Bet ha-midrash, London; Parts I.–II., MS. Bodl. 1261, written, 1547; MS. Petersburg, No. 82; Munich MS. 60 and 370).
Moses ha-ḳatan, son of Jebudah, son of Moses, wrote To’aliyot pirḳe ha-maamar (“Lessons taught in the chapters of this work”). It is an index to the Moreh (MS. Bodl. 1267).
Moses Leiden explained the 25 Prop. of the Introduction to Part II. (MS. Günzburg, Paris).
Moses Narboni wrote a short commentary at Soria, 1362. He freely criticizes Maimonides, and uses expressions like the following: — “He went too far, may God pardon him” (II. viii.). Is. Euchel ed. Part I. (Berlin, 1791); J. Goldenthal, I. to III. (Wien, 1852). The Bodl. Libr. possesses several MS. copies of this commentary (Nos. 1260, 1264, 2, and 1266).
Munk, S., added to his French translation of the Moreh numerous critical and explanatory notes.
S. Sachs (Ha-teḥiyah, Berlin, 1850, p. 8) explains various passages of the Moreh, with a view of discovering the names of those who are attacked by Maimonides without being named.
Scheyer, S., added critical and explanatory notes to his German translation of the Moreh, Part 3, and to the Hebrew version of Ḥarizi, Part I. He also wrote Das Psychologische System des Maimonides, an Introduction to the Moreh (Frankf.-a-M., 1845).
Shem ṭob Ibn Palquera’s Moreh ha-moreh consists of 3 parts: (1) a philosophical explanation of the Moreh, (2) a description of the contents of the chapters of the Moreh, Part I, i.–lvii. (Presburg, 1827); (3) Corrections of Ibn Tibbon’s version. He wrote the book for himself, that in old age he might have a means of refreshing his memory. The study of science and philosophy is to be recommended, but only to those who have had a good training in “the fear of sin.” Ibn Roshd (Averroes) is frequently quoted, and referred to as he-ḥakam ha-nizkar (the philosopher mentioned above).
Shem-ṭob ben Joseph ben Shem-tob had the commentary of Efodi before him, which he seems to have quoted frequently verbatim without naming him. In the preface he dwells on the merits of the Moreh as the just mediator between religion and philosophy. The commentary of Shem-tobh is profuse, and includes almost a paraphrase of the text. He apologises in conclusion for having written many superfluous notes and added explanation where no explanation was required; his excuse is that he did not only intend to write a commentary (biur) but also a work complete in itself (ḥibbur). He often calls the reader’s attention to things which are plain and clear.
Shem-ṭob Ibn Shem-ṭoh, in Sefer ha-emunot (Ferrara, 1556), criticises some of the various theories discussed in the Moreh, and rejects them as heretic. His objections were examined by Moses Al-ashkar, and answered in Hasagot ‘al mah she-katab Rabbi Shem-ṭob neged ha-Rambam (Ferrara, 1556).
Salomon b. Jehudah ha-nasi wrote in Germany Sitre-torah, a kabbalistic commentary on the Moreh, and dedicated it to his pupil Jacob b. Samuel (MS. Bet-ha-midrash, London).
Tabrizi. The twenty-five Propositions forming the introduction to Part 2, have been fully explained by Mohammed Abu-becr ben Mohammed al-tabrizi. His Arabic explanations have been translated by Isaac b. Nathan of Majorca into Hebrew (Ferrara, 1556). At the end the following eulogy is added: — The author of these Propositions is the chief whose sceptre is “wisdom” and whose throne is “understanding,” the Israelite prince, that has benefited his nation and all those who love God, etc. Moses b. Maimon b. Ebed-elohim, the Israelite. . . . May God lead us to the truth. Amen!
Tishbi. In MS. Bodl. 2279, 1, there are some marginal notes on Part III. which are signed Tishbi (Neub. Cat.).
Yaḥya Ibn Suleiman wrote in Arabic a Commentary on the Guide of the Perplexed. A fragment is contained in the Berlin MS. Or. Qu., 554, 2 (Steinschneider, Cat. No. 92).
Zeraḥyah b. Isaac ha-Levi. Commentary on the Moreh, I., i.–lxxi., and some other portions of the work. (See Maskir, 1861, p. 125).
MS. Bodl. 2360, 8, contains a letter of Jehudah b. Shelomoh on some passages of the Moreh, and Zeraḥyah’s reply.
Anonymous Commentaries. — The MS. Brit. Mus. 1423 contains marginal and interlineary notes in Arabic. No author or date is given, nor is any other commentary referred to in the notes. The explanations given are mostly preceded by a question, and introduced by the phrase, “the answer is,” in the same style as is employed in the Hebrew-Arabic Midrash, MS. Brit. Mus. Or. 2213. The Midrashic character is prominent in the notes. Thus the verse “Open, ye gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in,” is explained as meaning: Open, ye gates of wisdom, that human understanding that perceiveth truth may enter. The notes are numerous, especially in the first part, explaining almost every word; e.g., on “Rabbi”: Why does Maimonides employ this title before the name of his pupil? The answer is: either the word is not to be taken literally (“master”), but as a mere compliment, or it has been added by later copyists. Of a similar style seem to be the Arabic notes in the Berlin MS. Or. Oct. 258, 2, 8, 10. (Cat. Steinschneider, No. 108.) — Anonymous marginal notes are met with almost in every MS. of the Moreh; e.g., Brit. Mus. Harl. 5525; Add. 14,763, 14,764; Bodl. 1264, 1; 2282, 10; 2423, 3; Munich MS., 239, 6.
The explanation of passages from the Pentateuch contained in the Moreh have been collected by D. Ottensosser, and given as an appendix (Moreh-derek) to Derek-selulah (Pent. with Comm. etc., Furth, 1824).
IV. Controversies. — The seemingly new ideas put forth by Maimonides in the Moreb and in the first section of his Mishneh-torah (Sefer ha-madda’) soon produced a lively controversy as regards the merits of Maimonides theories. It was most perplexing to pious Talmudists to learn how Maimonides explained the anthropomorphisms employed in the Bible, the Midrashim and the Talmud, what he thought about the future state of our soul, and that he considered the study of philosophy as the highest degree of Divine worship, surpassing even the study of the Law and the practice of its precepts. The objections and attacks of Daniel of Damascus were easily silenced by a ḥerem (excommunication) pronounced against him by the Rosh ha-golah Rabbi David. Stronger was the opposition that had its centre in Montpellier. Rabbi Solomon ben Abraham noticed with regret in his own community the fruit of the theories of Maimonides in the neglect of the study of the Law and of the practice of the Divine precepts. It happened to Moses Maimonides what in modern times happened to Moses Mendelssohn. Many so-called disciples and followers of the great master misunderstood or misinterpreted his teaching in support of their dereliction of Jewish law and Jewish practice, and thus brought disrepute on him in the eyes of their opponents. Thus it came that Rabbi Solomon and his disciples turned their wrath against the writings of Maimonides instead of combating the arguments of the pseudo-Maimonists. The latter even accused Solomon of having denounced the Moreh and the Sefer ha-madda‘ to the Dominicans, who condemned these writings to the flames; when subsequently copies of the Talmud were burnt, and some of the followers of the Rabbi of Montpellier were subjected to cruel tortures, the Maimonists saw in this event a just punishment for offending Maimonides. (Letters of Hillel of Verona, Ḥemdah Genuzah, ed. H. Edelmann, p. 18 sqq.).
Meir b. Todros ha-levi Abulafia wrote already during the lifetime of Maimonides to the wise men in Lunel about the heretic doctrines he discovered in the works of Maimonides. Ahron b. Meshullam and Shesheth Benvenisti defended Maimonides. About 1232 a correspondence opened between the Maimonists and the Anti-maimonists (Grätz, Gesch. d. J. vii. note I). The Grammarian David Kimḥi wrote in defence of Maimonides three letters to Jehudah Alfachar, who answered each of them in the sense of Rabbi Solomon of Montpellier. Abraham b. Ḥisdai and Samuel b. Abraham Saportas on the side of the Maimonists, took part in the controversy. Meshullam b. Kalonymos b. Todros of Narbonne begged Alfachar to treat Kimḥi with more consideration, whereupon Alfachar resolved to withdraw from the controversy. Naḥmanides, though more on the side of Rabbi Solomon, wrote two letters of a conciliatory character, advising moderation on both sides. Representatives of the congregations of Saragossa, Huesca, Monzon, Kalatajud, and Lerida signed declarations against R. Solomon. A herem was proclaimed from Lunel and Narbonne against the Anti-Maimonists. The son of Maimonides, Abraham, wrote a pamphlet Milḥamot adonai, in defence of the writings of his father. The controversy raised about fifty years later by Abba Mari Don Astruc and R. Solomon ben-Aderet of Barcelona, concerned the Moreh less directly. The question was of a more general character: Is the study of philosophy dangerous to the religious belief of young students? The letters written in this controversy are contained in Minḥat-ḳenaot by Abba Mari Don Astruc (Presburg, 1838), and Kitab alrasail of Meir Abulafia ed. J. Brill (Paris, 1871). Yedaya Bedrasi took part in this controversy, and wrote Ketab hitnaẓlut in defence of the study of philosophy (Teshubot Rashba, Hanau, 1610, p. 111 b.). The whole controversy ended in the victory of the Moreh and the other writings of Maimonides. Stray remarks are found in various works, some in praise and some in condemnation of Maimonides. A few instances may suffice. Rabbi Jacob Emden in his Mitpaḥat-sefarim (Lemberg, 1870, p. 56) believes that parts of the Moreh are spurious; he even doubts whether any portion of it is the work of “Maimonides, the author of the Mishneh-torah, who was not capable of writing such heretic doctrines,” S. D. Luzzato regards Maimonides with great reverence, but this does not prevent him from severely criticising his philosophical theories (Letters to S. Rappoport, No. 79, 83, 266, Iggeroth Shedal ed. E. Graber, Premys’l, 1882), and from expressing his conviction that the saying “From Moses to Moses none rose like Moses,” was as untrue as that suggested by Rappoport, “From Abraham to Abraham (Ibn-Ezra) none rose like Abraham.” Rabbi Hirsch Chayyuth in Darke-Mosheh (Zolkiew, 1840) examines the attacks made upon the writings of Maimonides, and tries to refute them, and to show that they can be reconciled with the teaching of the Talmud.
The Bodl. MS. 2240, 3a, contains a document signed by Josselman and other Rabbis, declaring that they accept the teaching of Maimonides as correct, with the exception of his theory about angels and sacrifices.
Numerous poems were written, both in admiration and in condemnation of the Moreh. Most of them precede or follow the Moreh in the printed editions and in the various MS. copies of the work. A few have been edited in Dibre-ḥakamim, pp. 75 and 86; in the Literaturblatt d. Or. I. 379, II. 26–27, IV. 748, and Leket-shoshannim by Dr. Grätz. In the Sammelband of the Mekize Nirdamim (1885) a collection of 69 of these poems is contained, edited and explained by Prof. Dr. A. Berliner. In imitation of the Moreh and with a view of displacing Maimonides’ work, the Karaite Ahron II. b. Eliah wrote a philosophical treatise, Eẓ-ḥayyim (Ed. F. Delitzsch. Leipzig, 1841).
Of the works that discuss the whole or part of the philosophical system of the Moreh the following are noteworthy: —
Bacher, W. Die Bibilexegese Moses Maimûni’s, in the Jahresbericht der Landes Rabbinerschule zu Buda-Pest. 1896.
Eisler, M. Vorlesungen über die jüdischen Philosophen des Mittelalters. Abtheil. II., Moses Maimonides (Wien, 1870).
Geiger, A. Das Judenthum u. seine Geschichte (Breslau, 1865), Zehnte Vorlesung: Aben Ezra u. Maimonides.
Grätz, H. Geschichte d. Juden, VI. p. 363 sqq.
Joel, M. Religionsphilosophie des Moses b. Maimon (Breslau, 1859).
Joel, M. Albertus Magnus u. sein Vorhältniss zu Maimonides (Breslau, 1863).
Kaufmann, D. Geschichte der Attributenlehre, VII. Gotha, 1874.
Philippsohn, L. Die Philosophie des Maimonides. Predigt und Schul-Magazin, I. xviii. (Magdeburg, 1834.)
Rosin, D. Die Ethik d. Maimonides (Breslau, 1876).
Rubin, S. Spinoza u. Maimonides, ein Psychologisch-Philosophisches Antitheton (Wien, 1868).
Scheyer, S. Das psychologische System des Maimonides. Frankfort-a.-M., 1845.
Weiss, T. H. Beth-Talmud, I. x. p. 289.
David Yellin and Israel Abrahams, Maimonides.
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