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Intro to the Guide of the Perplexed
Teacher Title Abstract Course
Rav Chaim Navon Shiur #01: Who Are the “Perplexed?” The Rambam, Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, was born in 1138 in Cordova, Spain, to a family of respected lineage. In 1148 Spain was invaded by zealous Muslims who came from North Africa, and the Rambam's family was forced to leave Cordova. Intro to the Guide of the Perplexed
Rav Chaim Navon Shiur #02: How Should the Guide Be Studied? In this shiur we shall continue our study of the Rambam's introduction to the Guide, with an emphasis on the literary nature of the book. Intro to the Guide of the Perplexed
Rav Chaim Navon Shiur #03: The Sin of the Tree of Knowledge – "Necessary Truths" and "Apparent Truths" The first chapter of the Guide addresses the interpretation of the words "tzelem" (image) and "demut" (form). Intro to the Guide of the Perplexed
Rav Chaim Navon Shiur #04: Stages and Boundaries in the Study of Esoteric Wisdom As we have already seen, much of the Guide of the Perplexed is devoted to linguistic exegetical explanations of how different passages in Tanakh should be read. Intro to the Guide of the Perplexed
Rav Chaim Navon Shiur #05: Placing Boundaries on Knowledge Following his discussion of the limitations of the human intellect, the Rambam proceeds to justify his literary and educational approach, which favors reserving some knowledge for an intellectual elite. Intro to the Guide of the Perplexed
Rav Chaim Navon Shiur #06: Negating Personification – for Scholars or for the Masses? One of the most important and lasting influences of the Rambam's philosophy is the rejection of the notion of God's corporeality. Intro to the Guide of the Perplexed
Rav Chaim Navon Shiur #07: Imitatio Dei – The Ways of Leadership Following the sin of the golden calf, Moshe succeeds in appeasing God and persuading Him not to annihilate the Jewish people. Intro to the Guide of the Perplexed
Rav Chaim Navon Shiur #08: Names and the Problem of Religious Language: "Guide of the Perplexed" vs. "An'im Zemirot" In our introduction to the Guide, we noted that the Rambam defines the aims of his work as being focused on the linguistic realm. Intro to the Guide of the Perplexed
Rav Chaim Navon Shiur #09: Negative Attributes In chapter fifty-eight of Book I of the Guide, the Rambam presents another element in his theory of divine attributes. Intro to the Guide of the Perplexed
Rav Chaim Navon Shiur #10: The Unity of Knowledge- The Knower- The Known In order to understand the Rambam's metaphysics regarding the unity of knowledge, the knower, and the known, we must first acquire a basic familiarity with the Aristotelian philosophical view. Intro to the Guide of the Perplexed
Rav Chaim Navon Shiur #11: Proofs for the Existence of God In Book I of his Guide of the Perplexed, the Rambam addresses mainly the problem of religious language. Intro to the Guide of the Perplexed
Rav Chaim Navon Shiur #12: Was the World Created? In chapter thirteen of Book II of the Guide, the Rambam presents three opinions concerning the creation or origin of the universe. Intro to the Guide of the Perplexed
Rav Chaim Navon Shiur #13: Belief in the Creation and the Plain Meaning of the Torah In chapter twenty-five of Book II of the Guide, the Rambam explains why, in this situation of uncertainty, he prefers the creationist view and rejects the eternal view. Intro to the Guide of the Perplexed
Rav Chaim Navon Shiur #14: Prophecy and the Revelation at Sinai The Rambam devotes several chapters of Book II of the Guide to his understanding of prophecy. Intro to the Guide of the Perplexed
Rav Chaim Navon Shiur #15: The Prophecy of Moshe vs. the Prophecy of Other Prophets The Rambam precedes his description of the mechanism of prophecy with a clarification: Intro to the Guide of the Perplexed
Rav Chaim Navon Shiur #16: Prophets, Sages, Leaders In the last few shiurim we have discussed prophecy as the Rambam understands it, the psychological mechanism behind the phenomenon, and its ramifications. Intro to the Guide of the Perplexed
Rav Chaim Navon Shiur #17: The Problem of Evil in the World The problem of evil or injustice in the world has occupied humanity since antiquity. Intro to the Guide of the Perplexed
Rav Chaim Navon Shiur #18: The Purpose of the World In chapter thirteen of Book II of the Guide, the Rambam addresses the question of the purpose of the world. Intro to the Guide of the Perplexed
Rav Chaim Navon Shiur #19: Divine Providence In chapter seventeen in book III of the Guide, the Rambam discusses God's guidance of the world. He presents five different views in this regard. Intro to the Guide of the Perplexed
Rav Chaim Navon Shiur #20: Are There Reasons for the Commandments? A good portion of Book III of the Guide is devoted to the question of the reasons for the mitzvot. We shall look at some of what the Rambam writes on this topic in chapter twenty-six and in chapter thirty-one. Intro to the Guide of the Perplexed
Rav Chaim Navon Shiur #21: The Purpose of the Torah and the Reasons for the Mitzvot In the previous shiur we saw the Rambam's firm view that there are reasons for all of the mitzvot. Intro to the Guide of the Perplexed
Rav Chaim Navon Shiur #22: The Reasons for the Mitzvot: the War on Idolatry As part of his discussion of the reasons for the mitzvot, the Rambam proposes that many are aimed at combatting and eliminating idolatry. Intro to the Guide of the Perplexed
Rav Chaim Navon Shiur #23: The Reasons for the Mitzvot of Sacrifices The Rambam introduces his discussion of the sacrifices, in chapter thirty-two of Book III of the Guide, with an assertion concerning the biological realm: every creature develops gradually. Intro to the Guide of the Perplexed
Rav Chaim Navon Shiur #24: Punishment for Sins In his explanation of the reasons for mitzvot, the Rambam also discusses the various punishments set forth in the Torah. Intro to the Guide of the Perplexed
Rav Chaim Navon Shiur #25: “The Way of the Majority”: Is the Torah Suited to Everyone? Chapter thirty-four of Book III of the Guide is extremely short. Nevertheless, its content has given rise to considerable controversy, continuing to our own times. Intro to the Guide of the Perplexed

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