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Rethinking Jewish PhilosophyBeyond Particularism and Universalism$
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Aaron W. Hughes

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199356812

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199356812.001.0001

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(p.66) 4 Authoritarianism
Rethinking Jewish Philosophy

Aaron W. Hughes

Oxford University Press

This chapter uses the figure of Maimonides as its case study, and his writings as a prism with which to re-imagine the creation of a canon of medieval Jewish philosophy in the nineteenth century. The quest to create a good, rational, and liberal medieval Jew has created an unstable terrain upon which stands the edifice of Jewish philosophy. This chapter seeks to deconstruct our inherited narrative of the history of medieval Jewish philosophy by retelling it from a different perspective. The medieval Jewish philosophers, while claiming rationalism as their gold standard, produced a totalitarian version of Judaism, one predicated on what they considered to be an authentic and pristine past.

Keywords:   Moses Maimonides, Medieval Jewish philosophy, Totalitarianism, Authenticity, Medieval history

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