From the Archives of Tradition

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tradition-cabinetby R. Yitzchak Blau

Professor Michael Wyschogrod, one time chairman of the philosophy department at CUNY and a member of Tradition’s editorial board for several decades, passed away last week.  He wrote two book reviews fifteen years apart that complement each other.   In a review of David Hartman’s Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest (Spring 1979), Prof. Wyschogrod argues that Rambam was too dismissive of the carnal, corporeal, and historical elements of the Jewish tradition.   Thus, Rambam values olam haba more than physical resurrection, he fails to emphasize the significance of the land of Israel, and he rejects any trace of anthropomorphism regarding God.   In a review of Marvin Fox’s Interpreting Maimonides (Winter 1994), Wyschogrod notes how Fox’s discussion of the contemporary relevance of Rambam’s philosophy focuses entirely on formal procedure rather than on substantive ideas.  He also contends that Rambam allowed biblical loyalties to influence his definition of what can be rationally demonstrated.


Here is the review of David Hartman: link (PDF)

Here is the review of Marvin Fox: link (PDF)

About Yitzchak Blau

Rabbi Yitzchak Blau is Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshivat Orayta and also teaches at Midreshet Lindenbaum. He is the author of Fresh Fruit and Vintage Wine: The Ethics and Wisdom of the Aggada and an Associate Editor of Tradition.

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