Page:Guideforperplexed.djvu/44

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The writings of the Mutakallemim are never commended by him; he states their opinions, and tells his disciple that he would not find any additional argument, even if he were to read all their voluminous works (p. 133). Maimonides was a zealous disciple of Aristotle, although the theory of the Kalam might seem to have been more congenial to Jewish thought and belief. The Kalam upheld the theory of God's Existence, Incorporeality, and Unity, together with the creatio ex nihilo. Maimonides nevertheless opposed the Kalam, and, anticipating the question, why preference should be given to the system of Aristotle, which included the theory of the Eternity of the Universe, a theory contrary to the fundamental teaching of the Scriptures, he exposed the weakness of the Kalam and its fallacies.

The exposition of Scriptural texts is divided by the author into two parts the first part treats of homonymous, figurative, and hybrid terms,2 employed in reference to God; the second part relates to Biblical figures and allegories. These two parts do not closely follow each other; they are separated by the examination of the Kalam, and the discussion of metaphysical problems. It seems that the author adopted this arrangement for the following reason first of all, he intended to establish the fact that the Biblical anthropomorphisms do not imply corporeality, and that the Divine Being of whom the Bible speaks could therefore be regarded as identical with the Primal Cause of the philosophers. Having established this principle, he discusses from a purely metaphysical point of view the properties of the Primal Cause and its relation to the universe. A solid foundation is thus established for the esoteric exposition of Scriptural passages. Before discussing metaphysical problems, which he treats in accordance with Aristotelian philosophy, he disposes of the Kalam, and demonstrates that its arguments are illogical and illusory.

The "Guide for the Perplexed" contains, therefore, an Introduction and the following four parts:--1. On homonymous, figurative, and hybrid terms, 2. On else Supreme Being and His relation to the universe, according to the Kalam. 3. On the Primal Cause and its relation to the universe, according to the philosophers. 4. Esoteric exposition of some portions of the Bible (sodot) a. Maaseb bereshith, or the history of the Creation (Genesis, ch. i-iv .); b. on Prophecy; c. Maaseb mercabhah, or the description of the divine chariot (Ezekiel, ch. i.).

According to this plan, the work ends with the seventh chapter of the Third Part. The chapters which follow may be considered as an appendix; they treat of the following theological themes the Existence of Evil, Omniscience and Providence, Temptations, Design in Nature, in the Law, and in the Biblical Narratives, and finally the true Worship of God.

In the Introduction to the "Guide," Maimonides (1) describes the object ot the work and the method he has followed; (2) treats of similes; (3) gives "directions for the study of the work"; and (4.) discusses the usual causes of inconsistencies in authors.

1 (pp. 2--3). Inquiring into the root of the evil which the Guide was intended to remove, viz., the conflict between science and religion, the author perceived that in most cases it originated in a misinterpretation of the anthropomorphisms in Holy Writ. 'Ihe main difficulty is found in the ambiguity of the words employed by the prophets when speaking of the Divine Being; the question arises whether they are applied to the Deity and to other things in one and the same sense or equivocally; in the latter case the author distinguishes between homonyms pure and simple, figures, and hybrid terms. In order to show that the Biblical anthropomorphisms do not imply the corporeality of the Deity, he seeks in each instance to demonstrate that the expression under examination