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Maimonides And Ethical Monotheism: The Influence Of The Guide Of The Perplexed On German Reform Judaism In The Late Nineteenth And Early Twentieth Century

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Chapter Summary

The recovery, or really rediscovery, of Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed for German Jewry began in 1742, when Rabbi David Fraenkel, the teacher of Moses Mendelssohn, arranged for the publication of a new edition of Maimonides' work by the Wulff printing press—almost 200 years after its previous printing. This chapter concentrates on the Maimonidean background of the concept of God that the philosophers of liberal Judaism in Germany developed beginning in the middle of the nineteenth century. It shows how the ideas of Manuel Joel and David Kaufmann on this subject provided the foundations for the doctrine of ethical monotheism that would occupy the central place in Hermann Cohen's interpretation of Maimonides; and how, following Cohen, the reading of Maimonides was challenged by Cohen's student Benzion Kellermann.

Keywords: David Kaufmann; ethical monotheism; German Jewry; Guide of the Perplexed; Hermann Cohen; Maimonides; Manuel Joel; Moses Mendelssohn; nineteenth century; Rabbi David Fraenkel

10.1163/ej.9789004174504.i-440.48
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