Maimonides thus interprets the term Yediah (knowledge)--as in the phrase Yediat Hashem (knowledge of God)--negatively hermeneutically. To know, for him, signifies not to know that there isn't (not even to know that knowledge has to be deferred)--but this does not translate into knowing that there is in the full-blooded sense. In at least one place in the Guide, Maimonides affirms mystical silence as the central mode for relating to god. In Guide I : 59 : 139, he says that ``The most apt phrase concerning this subject [that ``none but He Himself can apprehend what He is''] is the dictum occurring in the Psalms [65 : 2], `Silence is praise to Thee,' which interpreted signifies: silence with regard to You is praise. This is a most perfectly put phrase regarding this matter.'' When language, which is the syntax of reason, breaks down, we are left with a very pregnant and concentrated mystical silence. Notes 1 Ralph Lerner, Maimonides' Empire of Light: Popular Enlightenment in an Age of Belief (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), p. 141. 2 Maimonides, Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah, 1 : 12; Lerner, Maimonides' Empire of Light, p. 143. 3 The relevant Talmudic
Philosophy East and West – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Jul 16, 2008
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