Maimonides As Biblical Interpreter

Maimonides As Biblical Interpreter


Sara Klein-Braslavy

Series: Emunot: Jewish Philosophy and Kabbalah
ISBN: 9781936235285 (hardcover)
Pages: 306 pp.
Publication Date: July 2011

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Although Maimonides did not write a running commentary on any book of the Bible, biblical exegesis occupies a central place in his writings, particularly in his Guide of the Perplexed. In this book, Sara Klein-Braslavy offers a collection of essays on several key biblical interpretations by Maimonides dealing with the creation of the world; the story of the Garden of Eden; Jacob’s dream of the ladder; King Solomon as an esoterist philosopher; and the problem of exoteric and esoteric biblical interpretations in the Guide. Special attention is paid to Maimonides’ methods of interpretation and to his esoteric way of writing. Some of the articles in this volume were originally published in Hebrew, and appear here for the first time in English.

Sara Klein-Braslavy (PhD Universite de Paris IV)  is a professor of Jewish philosophy at Tel-Aviv University. She is the author of three Hebrew books on Maimonides: Maimonides' Interpretation of the Story of Creation; Maimonides' Interpretation of the Adam Stories in Genesis - A Study in Maimonides' Anthropology; and King Solomon and Philosophical Esotericism in the Thought of Maimonides.  She has also written numerous articles on Jewish medieval philosophy.

Sara Klein-Braslavy is one of our generation’s pre-eminent interpreters of Maimonides. This volume makes available to the English reader a selection of her pioneering studies on Maimonides as interpreter of the Bible and on his art of writing. Professor Klein-Braslavy’s important work is thus made available to a much wider audience and makes a substantial contribution to the reader’s understanding of this crucial figure.
— Menachem Kellner, University of Haifa

Table of Contents


Part One: The Creation of the World and the Story of the Garden of Eden
A Chapter in Maimonides’ Biblical Exegesis: The Interpretation of the Story of the Second Day of Creation
On Maimonides’ Interpretation of the Story of the Garden of Eden in the Guide of the Perplexed
The Creation of the World and Maimonides’ Interpretation of Genesis 1-5
Part Two: Maimonides’ Methods of Interpreting the Bible
Maimonides’ Interpretation of Jacob’s Dream of the Ladder
Maimonides’ Strategy for Interpreting “Woman” in the Guide of the Perplexed
Interpretative Riddles in Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed
Part Three: Maimonides and Esotericism
King Solomon and Metaphysical Esotericism According to Maimonides
Maimonides’ Exoteric and Esoteric Biblical Interpretations in the Guide of the Perplexed
Appendix: Abraham Bar Ḥiyya’s Interpretation of the Story of the Creation of Man and the Story of the Garden of Eden

Index of Topics and Names
Index of Sources and Citations