His Existence Is Essentiality: Maimonides as Metaphysician

Aaron Segal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Maimonides famously says some rather radical things about God – radical even by philosophical standards – both about what God is like “in Himself” and about God’s relationship with the created universe. Maimonides’ most detailed and sustained presentation of these radical ideas is in his discussion of divine attributes in chapters 50–70 of the Guide. Indeed, it seems evident that Maimonides’ point in that section is to make plain these radical ideas. To put matters rather simply and straightforwardly, the radical ideas are these: Strictly speaking, God shares nothing substantive in common with created beings, neither existence nor life nor power nor knowledge. Indeed, strictly speaking, God has no intrinsic nature at all, no attributes at all, and stands in no relations whatsoever to the created universe – save for negative attributes and attributes of action. Even speaking strictly, God does have negative attributes and does stand in whatever relations to the created universe are entailed by His having attributes of action.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationMAIMONIDES’ Guide of the Perplexed
Subtitle of host publicationA Critical Guide
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781108635134
ISBN (Print)9781108480512
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Cambridge University Press.


  • Apophaticism
  • Comprehension
  • Enabling state
  • Knowledge
  • Non-propositional knowledge


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