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Eros Within The Limits Of Mere Reason: On The Maimonidean Limits Of Modern Jewish Philosophy

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Chapter Summary

One of the riddles that enthrall those who study modern Jewish thought is how Maimonides attained such high stature among thinkers so far removed from one another-medievals and moderns, rationalists and mystics. In order to highlight the sense of indebtedness and loyalty to Maimonides and the limits set by that sense in modern Jewish thought, this chapter examines Spinoza's attitude to love and Eros and the critique of that position by Hermann Cohen, followed by consideration of the problematic indications of limitation in both thinkers. Before this, some attention is given to the status of Eros in religious thought and to the tension between the Spinozean position on Eros and the position taken by Cohen. Both of these thinkers express a preference for intellectual love over erotic love.

Keywords: erotic elements; Hermann Cohen; Maimonides; modern Jewish philosophy; Spinoza



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