By Menachem Kellner

Maimonides on Judaism and the Jewish humans explores Maimonides' philosophical psychology, his ethics, his perspectives on prophecy, windfall, and immortality, his knowing of where of gentiles within the Messianic zone, his angle towards proselytes, his resolution to the query, "Who is a Jew?," his perception of the character of Torah, and his arguments in regards to the nature of the selected humans. With appreciate to every of those concerns, Kellner exhibits that Maimonides followed positions that mirrored his emphasis on nurture over nature and his insistence that it's highbrow perfection and never ethnic association that is the most important.

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16 Human beings are free; on this the Torah and philosophy agree. In order for them to be free, they cannot be born possessing either virtues or vices, for this would mean that we are no more to be honored and rewarded for our virtues than blamed and punished for our vices. Just as all human beings are born with the potential to perfect themselves intellectually, so they are born with the potential to become virtuous or vicious. Ab initio they are all born equal. "18 Maimonides thus begins his only systematic discussion of ethics in his halakhic code in a section called "Laws [hilkhot] of Moral Qualities" by referring to a truth of human (as opposed to specifically Jewish) nature, a truth applicable to all human beings.

14 Speaking anachronistically, we see here that for Maimonides nurture, not nature, determines human moral character. In and of themselves, human beings all start with the same clean slate. No individual or group of individuals is born with a moral "edge" over anyone else. "15 Maimonides makes this claim because without it human freedom and moral responsibility are impossible: I have explained this to you so that you will not think that those senseless ravings fabricated by the astrologers are true.

Providence extends to all human beings, and only to human beings. Humans benefit from providence to different degrees, the degree of providential protection, guidance, and reward depending not on whether or not the individual in question is a Jew, but on the extent to which he or she has perfected his or her intellect. Another issue that has bothered traditionalist readers of Maimonides becomes clear. Maimonides does not restrict prophecy to Jews and in one place, davka in a popular work, explicitly affirms the possibility that Gentiles can prophesyY The preconditions for prophecy include physiological, moral, psychological, and, crucially, intellectual perfection; 10 being Jewish is nowhere mentioned.

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