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Maimonides' use of the Hebrew deᶜot in the Mishneh Torah is ambiguous; it can refer to intellectual knowledge, opinions, or moral habits. Hebrew translators of the Guide, including Samuel ibn Tibbon and Judah al-Ḥarizi, sought to dispel some of this ambiguity by using the Hebrew term sekhel exclusively to mean “intellect.” Yet they did use deᶜot to translate the Arabic ᵓārāᵓ, “views” or “opinions.” Probably because of Maimonides's intellectual use of deᶜot in the Mishneh Torah, al-Ḥarizi only uses the term when it is clear that Maimonides has in mind true opinions; elsewhere he uses the terms sebarot or maḥashavot. Ibn Tibbon, however, almost always uses deᶜot for “opinions.” Maimonides himself recommended to Ibn Tibbon to use the Hebrew term madaᶜot for ᵓārāᵓ, “opinions,” and Ibn Tibbon's reluctance to follow Maimonides in this underlines the importance of the term deᶜot for Ibn Tibbon's understanding of Maimonides. By examining Ibn Tibbon's translations of certain chapters of the Guide in which deᶜot play a central role, e.g., I 31-32, III 36 and III 51, I will argue that Ibn Tibbon strives to preserve some of the range of meanings Maimonides assigned to deᶜot in the Mishneh Torah in the translation of the Guide. In particular, Ibn Tibbon strives to preserve the possibility that opinions and moral habits (both called deᶜot) can lead to intellect. This conclusion is important for Maimonides' conception of popular religion and for the possibility that true opinions can lead to intellect.
|Original language||American English|
|State||Published - 2016|
|Event||“PESHAT in Context”: Terminology Formation, Translation Procedures and Philosophical Debates in 12th Century Judaism - University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany|
Duration: 4 Apr 2016 → 6 Apr 2016
|Conference||“PESHAT in Context”: Terminology Formation, Translation Procedures and Philosophical Debates in 12th Century Judaism|
|Period||4/04/16 → 6/04/16|
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“PESHAT in Context”: Terminology Formation, Translation Procedures and Philosophical Debates in 12th Century Judaism
Yehuda Halper (Participant)4 Apr 2016 → 6 Apr 2016
Activity: Participating in or organizing an event › Organizing a conference, workshop, ...