Tangential (28/11/20 12:25:36)
"For many years now scholars have debated the extent of Maimonides’s influence on Spinoza.
Indeed, Spinoza is known to have read and studied Maimonides, and Maimonides is certain to have played a large part in Spinoza’s philosophical development.
Most scholars agree, however, that Spinoza was not a Maimonidean, even though they often disagree about what specifically distinguishes the two thinkers.
Joshua Parens takes aim at those scholars who, he considers, “too readily assimilate Maimonides to Spinoza, and vice versa” (15).
He aims to explain the difference between Maimonides and Spinoza and to prove once and for all that Maimonides was a medieval and Spinoza a modern.
In each of the six chapters making up the body of this book, Parens identifies and compares central concepts in the works of Maimonides and Spinoza.
For Spinoza, these concepts are conatus, equality, laws of nature, determinism, imagined ideals, and imagination.
Parens finds comparisons, respectively, with desire (and spiritedness), veneration, forms, freedom, teleology, and prudence in Maimonides’s works.
Parens’s arguments for the centrality of these concepts and the correspondence between them are likely to arouse controversy.
Indeed, the concepts of the second set are not usually considered the central topics of any of Maimonides’s works, but have evidently been selected with a view to their counterparts in Spinoza.
Yet, issues normally considered central to Maimonides are covered under the rubrics of Parens’s central concepts.
Thus, for example, God’s incorporeality is discussed in connection with veneration and form, providence in connection with [human] freedom, creation in connection with teleology, and prophecy in connection with prudence.
The Maimonidean concepts Parens identifies are first and foremost Aristotelian concepts.
Parens’s main argument is that Maimonides adopts the Aristotelian philosophical worldview and adapts it to the Jewish context, cleverly reinterpreting Biblical and Rabbinic views to accommodate Aristotle.
Consequently, according to Parens, when Spinoza refutes and undermines Aristotle and Aristotelianism, he also refutes and undermines Maimonides"
Personally I do not see conflicting views as some present them. I see continuity and evolution.
Maimonides "guide" is a "tough-read". It is messy and prone to bad translations. And yes, Aristotelian. Reflects the times he lived in.
Spinoza is geometry. Order. Precision. Also reflects the times.
However, I would say that Spinoza could not have written "Ethics" without being acquainted with the guide or other writings of the sort.
Surely, as a jew, he had access to the guide and other ancient writings.
As they say, standing on the shoulder of... well, others.
Maimonides already tore down the holly scriptures.
He demonstrated that there is very little of god in them and that all the rituals, commandments and miracles have very little to do with god.
Maimonides also came absurdly close to what Spinoza did in ethics, castrate god.
He reduced god to an intangible god with absolutely no attributes (or infinity of) and no physical magical intervention powers in his own creation as religious people often believe.
Now that's having BALLS!
Mind you, the real distinction between the two is probably their attitude toward the purpose of the scriptures and much less on the nature of god. (god is the reason/god is god, regardless)
Maimonides saw the religious rituals as an aid to personal growth and coming closer to the divine, the miracles as metaphors etc...
So I think that Maimonides took the first step. The scriptures were a manual for personal growth and not holy and certainly not meant to be taken literally.
To my knowledge Spinoza did not share such views.
"Spinoza's doctrine of immortality was strikingly similar. But Spinoza teaches that the way to attain the knowledge which confers immortality is the progress from sense-knowledge through scientific knowledge to philosophical intuition of all things sub specie æternitatis, while Maimonides holds that the road to perfection and immortality is the path of duty as described in the Torah and the rabbinic understanding of the oral law." - from Wikipedia entry on Maimonides.
There are far better sources (books!) on the subject. Just type Maimonides and Spinoza into all mighty google.
5780 years of trying to kill god and somehow IT still "lives".
Ask google about "princess alice experiment"
Also recommended, Derren Brown's Miracle
My two cents, have a good week.
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