The study of Moses ben Maimon's works is ultimately tied into scholars' assumptions about whether they are reading the writings of Maimonides, the medieval Jewish philosopher par excellence, or Rambam, the premier medieval codifier of halakhah. Three approaches to interpreting his works have dominated scholarship for the last century. Some read the works as consisting of two essentially independent oeuvres: halakhic works written for one audience and philosophical works for another. Thus, Maimonides did not need to be consistent in his views. The supporters of Maimonides the philosopher read his halakhic works as secretly containing philosophical truths consistent with those in the Guide of the Perplexed (referred to as GP herein). The supporters of Rambam prefer to see the Mishneh Torah as the foremost statement of his views and the philosophical stance expressed in the Guide as disingenuous. In the words of Menachem Kellner, Maimonides is presented as “everything from a late convert to Kabbalah to a halakhist, who in truth disdained philosophy, to an Aristotelian philosopher, whose own innermost thoughts stood in conscious opposition to normative Jewish teachings.”
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