In the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, reviewer Jay Harris praises Professor Moshe Halbertal’s recently published book Maimonides: Life and Thought, his study of the work by the medieval Jewish scholar Moses Maimonides. Harris calls Halbertal’s work “extraordinary.”
In his evaluation, Harris highlights Halbertal’s “masterful” biography of Maimonides, his sensitivity to the impossibility of definitively interpreting Maimonides, and his investigation of Maimonides’ legal and philosophical texts.
Harris lingers on Halbertal’s reading of one of Maimonides’ major works, The Guide of the Perplexed. The Guide wrestles with the question of how to speak about God—for example, whether it is possible to even describe God—and posits that people can’t define God, but they can recognize how God is manifest in the world. Maimonides argues that those who model themselves after how God is manifest in the world will have lives committed to “righteousness and loving-kindness.”
As Harris writes, “It is to Halbertal’s great credit that he brings this vision to life for the contemporary reader.”
Published on February 27, 2014