Ajs Review 1987: Fall, No 2 by Robert Chazan

By Robert Chazan

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Guide, III/17, p. 469. 44. On page 471, within discussion of the fifth opinion, identification of "some latter-day Gaonim" with the Mu'tazilite view is confirmed. MAIMONIDES' THEORY OF PROVIDENCE 41 Before his presentation of the fifth opinion, Maimonides offers a curiously benign appraisal of the second, third, and fourth views. Within the individual presentation of each separate view, Aristotle was criticized, from the perspective of the Law, for failing to articulate a theory of individual providence, and the Ash'ariyya and Mu'tazila were more criticized than explained, being plagued by "great incongruities" and "incongruities and contradictions," respectively.

Maimonides cites the 16. Diesendruck, "Samuel and Moses Ibn Tibbon," pp. 355-356. The translation from the Hebrew is my own. No attempt is made here to indicate the tentative nature of Ibn Tibbon's translation of the Guide at the time this letter was written. Rather, citations from the Guideare taken from the Pines translation. 3 i~-r DiVf 1'$57 K1~VfVfl KN' :K~VfV3. 17. Guide, 111/23, p. 494. 32 CHARLES M. "'9 After establishing Maimonides' own theory in chapters 17-23 as a thoroughgoing philosophic view, a harmonistic understanding of the providence for the perfect in chapter 51 seems impossible to Ibn Tibbon.

464. 32. Ibid. 38 CHARLES M. RAFFEL The presentation of the first opinion sets a pattern which Maimonides follows in his discussion of the other views. 1. The opinion on providence. 2. The individual or group associated with this opinion. 3. The identification of any Israelites with this opinion through appropriate scriptural reference. 4. Criticism of the opinion. The second opinion, "those who hold that providence watches over certain things and that these exist through the governance and the ordering of one who governs and orders, whereas other things are left to chance,"33is identified as Aristotle's opinion.

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