Which is to be preferred: Science or tradition? What is more important: Truth or morality? Can God be proven? Can ideas ever be commanded? How did philosophy and humanity change between the Middle Ages and that of the modern world? Can the Jewish tradition be read in a rationalistic way? The axis of Jewish philosophy is in the tension between universal human reason and unique experience of individuals, and we will deal with that tension from many different angles throughout this course.
In this course we will study the ethics and dogmatics of Moses Maimonides (1135-1204). We will contrast his rationalistic approach towards understanding the Torah and Jewish tradition to that of his critics in the centuries between his own lifetime and the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492.