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No Perpetual Enemies: Maimonideanism At The Beginning Of The Fifteenth Century

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Chapter Summary

Because of historical circumstances, adherents of Maimonideanism in late-fourteenth- and early-fifteenth-century Christian Iberia faced an impressive array of ideological difficulties. In the face of these difficulties, attitudes among Jewish thinkers changed toward Maimonidean principles. The controversy between rationalists and traditionalists over the legacy of Maimonides was of long standing, having commenced at the beginning of the thirteenth century in a debate over the validity of science. By the beginning of the fourteenth century it would seem that the rationalists had won the field. In general, most fourteenth century Jewish scholars in Christian Iberia supported the study of philosophy and science and their use in the interpretation of the Bible. The widespread acceptance of philosophy, its common use in biblical commentaries, and its penetration even to the level of popular sermons all testify to the integration of the rationalist ideal in Iberian Jewish culture.

Keywords: Bible; Christian Iberia; fifteenth-century; Jewish scholars; Maimonideanism; rationalists; traditionalists



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