The Maimonidean Controversy
The Nexus of Faith and Reason in Judaism
In 1232, Dominican priests publicly burned Maimonides' "Guide for the Perplexed" in Montpellier, but this display was the result of a controversy within the Jewish community over the legitimacy of his work. How did one of the greatest rabbis of the Middle Ages become a flashpoint in the Jewish community? What was the ideological nature of this controversy? Much of this story hinges on the tensions between faith and reason, and we will gain clarity about this topic by examining the polemical writings on both sides of this debate.