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Limits Of Orthodox Theology (The)
Limits Of Orthodox Theology (The)
Maimonides' Thirteen Principles Reappraised

Author:Marc B. Shapiro

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It is commonly asserted that Maimonides' famous Thirteen Principles are the last word in Orthodox Jewish theology. This is a very popular notion, and is often repeated by scholars from all camps in Judaism. Yet such a position ignores the long history of Jewish theology in which Maimonides' principles have been subject to great dispute.

The book begins with a discussion of the significance of the principles and illustrates how they assumed such a central place in traditional Judaism. Each of the principles is then considered in turn; the reasons underlying Maimonides' formulation are expounded and the disputes that have arisen concerning them are discussed in detail. Marc B. Shapiro's authoritative analysis makes it quite clear that the notion that Maimonides¹ principles are the last word in traditional Jewish theology is a misconception, and that even Maimonides himself was not fully convinced of every aspect of his formulation.

Although structured around Maimonides' principles, the book can also be seen as an encyclopedia of traditional Jewish thought concerning the central issues of Jewish theology. The diversity of opinion in Jewish tradition on such issues as God, Creation, and the Revelation of the Torah are sure to surprise readers.

'His research is exhaustive, almost encyclopedic, and it is highly convincing . . . his aim is truly constructive and his tone is passionately concerned.'
Erin Leib, Jerusalem Report

'Combines remarkable erudition with clarity of vision.'
Menachem Kellner, Edah Journal

'Inspiring and breath-taking . . . highly recommended.'
Yisrael Dubitsky, Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter

'This exhaustive yet readable study . . . is astonishingly well researched . . . a polemical work of considerable erudition, which will find a broad audience.'
Harvey Belovski, Jewish Chronicle

Marc B. Shapiro holds the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Chair in Judaic Studies at the University of Scranton, Pennsylvania. A graduate of Brandeis and Harvard universities, he is the author of Between the Yeshiva World and Modern Orthodoxy: The Life and Works of Rabbi Jehiel Jacob Weinberg, 1884-1966 (1999), also published by the Littman Library, and is editing the collected writings of Rabbi Jehiel Jacob Weinberg, the first volume of which appeared in 1998, with the second is expected in 2003.


232 pages