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Correcting Judaism By Its Own Criteria: Saul Ascher’s Philosophy of Religion

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Chapter Summary

Solomon Maimon did not participate directly in the communal debate concerning the problem of Jewish political and spiritual emancipation. Ascher had a lot in common with Maimon, especially in their relationship to Maimonides, Spinoza, and Kant - and consequently in their relations to Judaism. Ascher's debt to Maimonides' Thirteen Principles of Faith is quite clear. Ascher reproduced them all in order, but he formulated and enumerated them differently, and he added principles that Maimonides relegated to the realm of halakha - practice, not belief: circumcision, Sabbath, festivals, prayer, and repentance. Examination of the reformulations and additions will of course reveal the emphases and new meanings that Ascher viewed as dictated by the modern age.

Keywords: Ascher; Judaism; Kant; Maimonides; Solomon Maimon; Spinoza



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