Finding God’s Purpose: Hermann Cohen’s Use of Maimonides to Establish the Authority of Mosaic Law

Finding God’s Purpose: Hermann Cohen’s Use of Maimonides to Establish the Authority of Mosaic... © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2010 JJTP 18.1 Also available online – brill.nl/jjtp DOI: 10.1163/147728510X497492 FINDING GOD’S PURPOSE: HERMANN COHEN’S USE OF MAIMONIDES TO ESTABLISH THE AUTHORITY OF MOSAIC LAW George Y. Kohler Ben Gurion University of the Negev, P.O. Box 653, 84105 Beer Sheva, Israel kohlery@bgu.ac.il Abstract The most important Jewish source for Hermann Cohen’s rational theology of Judaism is Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed . Indeed, the Guide is of such impor- tance that Cohen bases his entire idealistic interpretation of the Jewish religion on it. In particular, Cohen derives his discussion of the continued authority of Mosaic law from the Guide . What follows focuses on Cohen’s discussion of the “Law” in his Religion of Reason out of the Sources of Judaism , and attempts to fill a gap in recent Cohen research by dealing with questions of halakhah and the interpretation of rabbinical sources. Cohen’s original reading of, inter alia, Guide III.31–32 led him to formulate a theory wherein Mosaic law—and by extension Judaism—guarantees the highest end of human morality. In identifying God with this end, Cohen eventually finds the ultimate criterion for the decision of how much of traditional Jewish law must still http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy Brill

Finding God’s Purpose: Hermann Cohen’s Use of Maimonides to Establish the Authority of Mosaic Law

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Publisher
BRILL
Copyright
© 2010 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1053-699X
eISSN
1477-285X
D.O.I.
10.1163/147728510X497492
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2010 JJTP 18.1 Also available online – brill.nl/jjtp DOI: 10.1163/147728510X497492 FINDING GOD’S PURPOSE: HERMANN COHEN’S USE OF MAIMONIDES TO ESTABLISH THE AUTHORITY OF MOSAIC LAW George Y. Kohler Ben Gurion University of the Negev, P.O. Box 653, 84105 Beer Sheva, Israel kohlery@bgu.ac.il Abstract The most important Jewish source for Hermann Cohen’s rational theology of Judaism is Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed . Indeed, the Guide is of such impor- tance that Cohen bases his entire idealistic interpretation of the Jewish religion on it. In particular, Cohen derives his discussion of the continued authority of Mosaic law from the Guide . What follows focuses on Cohen’s discussion of the “Law” in his Religion of Reason out of the Sources of Judaism , and attempts to fill a gap in recent Cohen research by dealing with questions of halakhah and the interpretation of rabbinical sources. Cohen’s original reading of, inter alia, Guide III.31–32 led him to formulate a theory wherein Mosaic law—and by extension Judaism—guarantees the highest end of human morality. In identifying God with this end, Cohen eventually finds the ultimate criterion for the decision of how much of traditional Jewish law must still

Journal

The Journal of Jewish Thought and PhilosophyBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2010

Keywords: Commandments; Hermann Cohen; Maimonides; Reform Judaism; Mosaic Law

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