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Remembering And Forgetting The Sabians: Moses Maimonides, Moses Narboni, And Eleazar Eilenburg

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Chapter Summary

A major point of The Guide of the Perplexed (GP) is that the purpose of the Torah is to promote the "perfection" of human beings through teaching laws, "correct opinions" and theoretical truths. Moses Maimonides took the Sabian literature as authentic historic documents from the time of the patriarchs. The intricate relationship between remembering and forgetting threatened the coherence of Maimonides' concept of the Torah as a response to Sabian religion. This chapter distinguishes two different concepts of remembering and forgetting. In one sense "to remember something" means to recall a piece of information. In another sense "to remember something" is to retain a certain disposition, emotion, compulsion, reflex, "gut-response," or savoir. Moses Narboni wrote one of the most important medieval commentaries on Maimonides' GP. Eliezer Eilburg followed Narboni's interpretation of the Maimonidean account of the Sabians.

Keywords: Eliezer Eilburg; Moses Maimonides; Moses Narboni; Sabian literature; The Guide of the Perplexed (GP); Torah



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