NYU and YU Host Conference Celebrating the Legacy of Moses Maimonides March 21-23

Mar 9, 2004 — The Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University and the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies at Yeshiva University will sponsor an international conference commemorating the 800th anniversary of the death of the great theorist and polymath Moses Maimonides. The conference will take place from Sunday, March 21 to Tuesday, March 23.

Talmudist, philosopher, and physician, Maimonides was the most influential Jewish thinker of the Middle Ages, and his work had a profound effect on philosophers on both the Christian and Modern Jewish traditions.

Born in Córdoba, Spain in 1138, Maimonides spent most of his life in Egypt, where he functioned as both rabbi and leader of the Jewish community there and elsewhere, and as physician to the sultan. Maimonides’s organization and systemization of the corpus of Jewish oral law, called the Mishneh Torah [the Torah Reviewed], is still used as a standard compilation of Halakhah, or the body of law regulating all aspects of Jewish life and which is still taught at contemporary rabbinical seminaries.

He also produced a number of discourses on legal topics; a work on logic; a treatise on the calendar; and several medical books, including an important work on hygiene. In his great philosophical work, the Moreh Nevukhim (tr., Guide for the Perplexed, 1963), was written in Arabic and was greatly influenced by the Islamic philosophical tradition. In it, he presented esoteric ideas in the Bible, formulated proofs for the existence of God, defended the concepts of creation and revelation, and offered a challenging synthesis of philosophy and Judaism.

Conference speakers are internationally recognized Maimonides scholars. Sessions cover Maimonides’s views on Jewish law, philosophy, science and medicine, and his influence.

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