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The Spectre Of Maimonidean Radicalism In The Late Eighteenth Century

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Chapter Summary

In 1792 Solomon Maimon recounted having been turned away by a local Rabbi at the Rosenthaler Gate in his first attempt to enter Berlin, sometime in the mid-1770s. A spectre haunted Europe, or at least Ashkenaz, during the late eighteenth century and the name of that spectre was Maimonideanism, or at least the Maimonideanism of the Guide of the Perplexed. Or, at least, some consequences of some version of the Maimonideanism of the Guide, and Solomon Maimon self-consciously embodied these radical possibilities. This chapter focuses on different aspect of Maimon's Maimonidean radicalism, his naturalization of the revelation at Sinai, which might indeed be taken to be destructive of traditional "good morals and religion." It also discusses modern experiments and scientific discoveries and criticizes Aristotelian science in light of Newtonian developments-all under the general banner of Maimonideanism.

Keywords: Aristotelian science; late eighteenth century; Maimonidean radicalism; Solomon Maimon



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