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Maimonides on Who Wrote the Torah
January 9, 2019 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm$18
Maimonides says in his Commentary on the Mishnah and his Mishneh Torah that Moses wrote every word of the Torah at the dictation of God. But Maimonides also says that God can’t talk, and that anyone who thinks God can talk is an idolater. So what exactly does Maimonides mean by describing Moses as a scribe who wrote down God’s words? This talk will try to explain that, in the context of other things Maimonides says, and argue that, properly understood, Maimonides’ view of the composition of the Torah does not rule out what today is called “the documentary hypothesis”: the idea that a variety of people wrote the Torah rather than Moses.
ABOUT THIS SPEAKER: Samuel Fleischacker is a Professor. He studied at Yale University, receiving his Ph.D. in 1989. He works in moral and political philosophy, the history of moral and philosophy,and the philosophy of religion. Among the issues that have particularly interested him are the moral status of culture, the nature and history of liberalism, the relationship between moral philosophy and social science, and the relationship between moral and religious values. His publications include The Ethics of Culture (Cornell, 1994), On Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations: A Philosophical Companion (Princeton, 2003), A Short History of Distributive Justice (Harvard, 2004), Divine Teaching and the Way of the World (Oxford, 2011), Kant’s Questions: What Is Enlightenment? (Routledge, 2012), and The Good and the Good Book (Oxford, 2015). Professor Fleischacker has been a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, the University Center for Human Values at Princeton, and the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities at Edinburgh University. He taught previously at Williams College.