What Does Halevi Mean By Referring To The Law As A Divine Law? (Essay Sample)
It's a takehome exam with 6 prompt, answer 5. Each answer should be around 1 page in length but the last VI should be a bit longer. Doesn't necessarily need sources but quoting from some of the scholars works would probably be a good idea, these works are attached.
Answer 4 out of I-V and question VI.
I. What does Halevi mean by referring to the Law as a divine law? What does Maimonides mean by it? (15)
II. Discuss the meaning of the divine Names YHVH and Elohim according to Philo, Halevi, and Maimonides. (15)
III. Discuss the love and fear of God in Bahya, Halevi, and Maimonides. (15)
IV. Contrast Halevi's view of prophets and prophecy with that of Maimonides. (15)
V. Discuss the reason(s) for need to engage in speculation in addition to tradition according to Saadya, Bahya, and Maimonides. (15)
VI. Either imagine you are Halevi and write a critique of Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed, or imagine you are and write a critique of Halevi's Kuzari. (40)
What does Halevi mean by referring to the Law as Divine Law? What does Maimonides mean by it?
The Kuzari by Judah Halevi opening remarks are about God giving Moses Law and then there were prophets after him to support this law through rewards and punishment to whoever obeyed or disregarded the Law as contained in the Torah. Law draws its divinity from the proof that it has a divine origin and it is thus not subject to change as is human law. The effect of law is beyond human powers to produce, the second is that the effect of this law can be witnessed by many people, thirdly, there is tangible evidence and last the law and its divinity can tested and studied repeatedly. Halevi disputed that multitudes that follow the Messiah are aware of the divinity attached to them and that there is a Lord that governs them on the grounds of their obedience or disobedience thus proving that our actions are either obedience or disobedience to this divine guidance.
Maimonides in Guide of the Perplexed argues that the law contained in the Torah is not just a mere test of obedience but rather, all laws have a reason. He argued that it is divine for all law to be with reason and otherwise would be an offense to divinity. He held that law either corrected an opinion, put an end to an ill opinion or communicated justice. Law revolves around three things; political civic actions, morality and opinions.
Discuss the meaning of the divine names YHVH and Elohim according to Philo, Halevi and Maimonides
Rambam ascertained that Elohim means a deity as well as the angels and those who govern the cities. Elohim knows both good and evil. Halevi disputed that the name Elohim yahhim means a living God as a relative aspect of God's names. According to Philo, Elohim is used to describe the attributes of God as a just God. This name reflects on God's creation and Elohim has to do with the cosmic power and that creation is the best evidence of his goodness.
YHVH is more about the authority it carries and not its pronunciation since it is clear that it has no vowels to aid in the same. This name he categorized as ineffable name which means too holy to be mentioned, it is this name that describes the glory of God which is the Holy Spirit and this glory or the light shed light to God's people in His land according to Judah Halevi. Philo described YHVH to mean a God that is merciful and kind and as the ‘Being who is'. Maimonides description of YHWH is ‘necessary existence', this name reflects His divine essence that is pure in nature and this does not relate to other of his attributes and His creation to mean that this name was in existence before God created the world and man.
Discuss the love and fear of God in Bahya, Halevi and Maimonides
Maimonides stated that when a man reflects upon the deeds of God, as well as the works of His Creation in their marvel, seeing the God in His limitless wisdom, man can only love God, glorify and praise His name and have a desire to know Him. An individual can love God in two ways, one is described as ‘lovesick'. The other love comes from being awestruck by an attribute or knowledge of God and thus develop an appreciation towards Him.
Bahya pointed out several attributes that concern the people that love God
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