Cover of A Guide to <I>The Guide to the Perplexed</I> by Lenn E. Goodman
A Guide to The Guide to the Perplexed
A Reader’s Companion to Maimonides’ Masterwork
Lenn E. Goodman


May 2024
270 pages.
from $26.00

Hardcover now $52.50 (50% off)
Paperback now $13.00 (50% off)

Hardcover ISBN: 9781503629530
Paperback ISBN: 9781503637474
Ebook ISBN: 9781503637481

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In this volume, noted philosopher Lenn E. Goodman shares the insights gained over a lifetime of pondering the meaning and purpose of Maimonides' celebrated Guide to the Perplexed. Written in the late twelfth century, Maimonides' Guide aims to help religiously committed readers who are alive to the challenges posed by reason and the natural sciences to biblical and rabbinic tradition. Keyed to the new translation and commentary by Lenn E. Goodman and Phillip I. Lieberman, this volume follows Maimonides' life and learning and delves into the text of the Guide, clearly explaining just what Maimonides means by identifying the Talmudic Ma'aseh Bereshit and Ma'aseh Merkavah with physics and metaphysics (to Maimonides, biblical cosmology and theology). Exploring Maimonides' treatments of revelation, religious practice and experience, law and ritual, the problem of evil, and the rational purposes of the commandments, this guide to the Guide explains the tactics Maimonides deployed to ensure that readers not get in over their heads when venturing into philosophical deep waters.

About the author

Lenn E. Goodman is Professor of Philosophy and Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Vanderbilt University.

"With complete mastery of the source languages, professional knowledge of ancient and medieval philosophies, yet equally at home in contemporary philosophical discourse, Lenn E. Goodman is uniquely qualified to present an authoritative survey of Maimonides' achievement. His fluid and eloquent writing delivers Maimonides' deliberations and decisions in a manner accessible to a wide audience."

—Tzvi Langermann, Bar-Ilan University

"The learning deployed in this book—historical, philosophic, and linguistic—is extraordinary. Guiding one through a brilliant, notoriously difficult text with grace and clarity, this book is a must-read for anyone wanting to learn about Maimonides' life and what he sought to accomplish in the Guide to the Perplexed."

—Kenneth Seeskin, Northwestern University

"It is no small feat for a book on Maimonides to smoothly blend all these elements: an absorbing biographical narrative, incisive readings of texts, historical context, cultural associations, and an appreciation of Maimonides' perennial relevance—all in an elegant and engaging style. Lenn E. Goodman is indeed a skilled guide to the Guide, and to the man who wrote it."

—David Shatz, Yeshiva University

"In the Reader's Companion, Goodman provides an exquisitely erudite and succinct biography of Maimonides. He offers a detailed summary of the political, religious, and philosophical winds of the rabbi's time, as well as a review of the Guide's major themes and the scholarly arguments surrounding it. It is essential reading for anyone looking to fully understand the Guide and its author."

—Stuart Halpern, Jewish Book Council

"[A Guide to the Guide to the Perplexed] promises the English reader the framework and insight necessary to appreciate the depths of The Guide. In this short work, divided into three sections, Goodman explores who Rambam is and what The Guide is about, and he proposes a scaffolding and direction for students to follow as they explore Rambam's instruction."

—Josh Frankel, Lehrhaus