Eight chapters of Maimonides on Ethics

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Eight chapters of Maimonides on Ethics  (1912) 
by Maimonides, translated by Samuel ibn Tibbon & Joseph Isaac Gorfinkle

THE EIGHT CHAPTERS OF MAIMONIDES
ON ETHICS

SHEMONAH PERAḲIM

COLUMBIA
UNIVERSITY PRESS
SALES AGENTS
NEW YORK:
LEMCKE & BUECHNER
30-32 West 27th Street
LONDON:

HENRY FROWDE
Amen Corner, E.C.
TORONTO:

HENRY FROWDE
Richmond St., W.

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY ORIENTAL STUDIES
VOL. VII.


 

THE
EIGHT CHAPTERS OF MAIMONIDES
ON ETHICS

(SHEMONAH PERAḲIM)

A PSYCHOLOGICAL AND ETHICAL TREATISE

EDITED, ANNOTATED, AND TRANSLATED
WITH AN INTRODUCTION

BY

JOSEPH I. GORFINKLE, Ph.D.

RABBI OF SINAI TEMPLE, MT. VERNON, N.Y.

Page11-Eight chapters of Maimonides on ethics.jpg

New York

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PRESS

1912

All rights reserved

NOTE

The Hebrew translation of the Shemonah Peraḳim of Maimonides, despite its importance in the history of Jewish ethics during the Middle Ages, has never been presented in a critical edition. This Dr. Gorfinkle has done in the present volume with acumen and with much diligence. To this purpose, he has examined carefully a number of manuscripts and printed editions. He has also compared the Arabic original throughout, and has given in the notes his reasons for accepting or rejecting certain readings. In order that the work may be accessible to readers who do not understand Hebrew, an English translation has been added.

RICHARD GOTTHEIL.

May, 1912.

TO

THE SACRED MEMORY

OF

MY FATHER

PREFACE

It was while in attendance at the Hebrew Union College, and under the able tuition of my friend and teacher, Dr. Henry Malter, now of Dropsie College, that I became acquainted with the masterpieces of Jewish philosophy, and among them the Shemonah Peraḳim of Maimonides. Remembering the corrupt condition of the text of the ordinary editions of the Peraḳim, and of that in the Mishnah and the Talmud containing Maimonides' Commentary on the Mishnah, and recollecting the frequency with which it was necessary to have recourse to the Arabic original in order to render the text intelligible, when casting about for a subject for a dissertation, I thought I could do no better than endeavor to reconstruct the Hebrew text as it came from the pen of of the translator, Samuel ibn Tibbon.

In this rather ambitious attempt, I was guided throughout by Dr. Richard Gottheil, to whom my sincere thanks are due for his constant interest and for his invaluable suggestions. I wish especially to thank Dr. Malter for his assistance in the Arabic and for his many excellent suggestions. I also take this opportunity of expressing my gratitude to Dr. Alexander Marx for his uniform kindness in allowing me to use manuscripts and books of the library of the Jewish Theological Seminary. To Mr. Simeon Leventall, I am also grateful for his assistance in correcting the proofs of the translation and notes.

There has been a delay of two years in the publishing of this book owing to the fact that originally it was not intended to include a translation of the Peraḳim and notes, and because a greater part of the book had to be set up in Europe.

It is with a feeling of trepidation that I send into the world this, my first work, fully realizing its many shortcomings. I can only hope that the kind reader will be so engrossed in these interesting Chapters of the master, Maimonides, and will find their teachings so captivating, that he will overlook the failings of the novice who presents them to him.

G.

Winthrop, Mass.,
August, 1912.

CONTENTS

PAGE
 
I.
The Object Of Maimonides' Writings. The Commentary On The Mishnah. The Shemonah Peraḳim
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1
II.
A. Maimonides' Ethical Writings — Definition of Ethics
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7
B. Name, Date, Description, and Contents of the Shemonah Peraḳim
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9
C. Samuel Ibn Tibbon as a Translator — His Translation of The Shemonah Peraḳim
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19
D. Description of Collated Material — General Remarks on the Text
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24
E. Manuscripts — Editions — Translations — Commentaries
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27
The Eight Chapters — Translation
 
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34
Chapter I — Concerning the Human Soul and its Faculties
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37
Chapter II — Concerning the Transgressions of the Faculties of the Soul, and the Designation of those Faculties which are the Seat of the Virtues and Vices
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47
Chapter III — Concerning the Diseases of the Soul
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51
Chapter IV — Concerning the Cure of the Diseases of the Soul
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54
Chapter V — Concerning the Application of Man's Psychic Faculties towards the Attainment of a Single Goal
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
69
Chapter VI — Concerning the Difference between the Saintly or Temperamentally Ethical Man and him who Subdues his Passions and has Self-restraint
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
75
Chapter VII — Concerning the Barrier between God and Man and its Signification
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79
Chapter VIII — Concerning the Natural Disposition of Man
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85
Index of Scriptural Passages
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103
Index of Quotations from the Talmud
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104
Critical Text and Notes of the Shemonah Peraḳim
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5–55

ABBREVIATIONS AND SIGNS.

Abot
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
Pirḳe Abot, ed. Strack, Berlin, 1888.
Br.
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
British Museum Ms. See p. 24.
Ma.
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
Maḥzor. See p. 24.
Mi.
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
First edition of Mishnah. See p. 25.
So.
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
Soncino edition of Abot. See p. 25.
M.
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
Maimonides.
Eth. Nic.
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics, ed. Lewes.
I.T.
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
Ibn Tibbon.
Poc.
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Pococke’s Porta Mosis, Arabic or Latin.
Ro.
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
Rosin’s Ethik des Maimonides, 1876.
Wo.
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
Wolff, Mûsâ Maimûni’s Acht Capitel, 1903.
Ar.
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Arabic text as presented in Wolff or Pococke.
Catal. Bodl.
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Steinschneider’s Catalogus Librorum Hebraeorum in Bibliotheca Bodleiana.
Jew. Lit.
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
Steinschneider’s Jewish Literature.
HUb.
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
Steinschneider’s Hebraische Uebersetzungen.
Arab. Lit.
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
Steinschneider’s Die Arab. Literatur der Juden.
AGPh.
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Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie (Stein).
AZDJ.
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
Allgemeine Zeitung des Judenthums.
JE.
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
The Jewish Encyclopaedia.
JQR.
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
The Jewish Quarterly Review.
Moses ben Maimon, I.
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
Memorial Volume, Moses ben Maimon, Sein Leben, Seine Werke und Sein Einfluss, Volume I, Leipzig, 1908.
ZPhKr.
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Zeitschrift für Philosophie und philosophische Kritik.
ZDMG.
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Zeitschrift der deutschen morgenländischen Gessellschaft.
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Denotes that the word or words following it are found only in sources designated. IT+ denotes that what follows is added by Ibn Tibbon to the original.
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Indicates that the word or words following are not found in the text designated.

Words in small type in the Hebrew text, and those enclosed in brackets in the English, are glosses by Ibn Tibbon.