Page:Eight chapters of Maimonides on ethics.djvu/26
THE ETHICS OF MAIMONIDES
Chapters), Samuel ibn Tibbon, who was at work on the translation of the Moreh, was eminently fitted. The Shemonah Peraḳim have always been widely read among the Jews and students of the philosophy of Maimonides on account of their simplicity of style and subject matter, and no less on account of their accessibility, being found in all editions of the Mishnah and Talmud that contain Maimonides' commentary, in a number of Maḥzorim, especially of the Roman and Greek ritual, and also in various separate editions. Their popularity is evidenced by the fact that they have been translated into Latin, French, Dutch, English, and many times into German.
An examination, however, of the Hebrew text of the Peraḳim in the editions of the Mishnah and the Talmud, in the Maḥzorim, and the many separate publications, at once shows that no two agree, and that each is in many instances in a corrupt state. A like examination of the manuscript sources bears the same result. Again, if any individual text, even that of the best manuscript, be placed beside the original Arabic in Pococke's Porta Mosis or Wolff's Acht Capitel, one would find many divergences. It may be safely stated that there is not in existence to-day, in any form, a text of the Shemonah Peraḳim which in its entirety is a faithful reproduction of the version of Ibn Tibbon. By a selective process based on a collation of the best texts, with the Arabic as a constant guide, it is possible, however, to reconstruct the Shemonah Peraḳim, so that almost every corrupt reading can be rectified. The purpose of this work is to restore and elucidate linguistically the text of Ibn Tibbon as far as possible, and by a translation make it accessible to readers of English.As this is mainly a textual work, its aim is not to treat with any degree of detail Maimonides' ethics, its sources, Jewish or Greek, and its place in Jewish philosophy, all of which has been admirably done by Rosin in his Ethik. But, in order to obtain a more complete knowledge of the Peraḳim and the theories laid down therein, the editor deems it well to mention and describe Maimonides' other ethical writings, the place of
- See pp. 25 and 31.
- See pp. 24–25, 29–30, and 31.
- See pp. 31 and 32.
- See pp. 32 and 33.
- See p. 27.