Context

(Student Guide to World Philosophy)

“From Moses to Moses there was none like Moses” is a famous phrase that indicates something of Maimonides’ place of importance in Jewish thought. The First Moses represents the origin of the great Jewish religious tradition and the Jewish Law. The Second Moses stands for an attempt to reconcile this inherited tradition with the growing Arabian and Western philosophy and culture that were being absorbed in the eleventh century.

Intellectuals of his age were perplexed by the disparity between the Law, which meant so much to them, and the philosophical sophistication they could not resist acquiring. For them, Maimonides provided The Guide of the Perplexed, as well as a new summary of the Law, both of which were so successful that they have become classics in the religious tradition as well as in secular philosophy.