The conclusion whose demonstration is correct is believed: Maimonides on the possibility of celestial sounds, according to three medieval interpreters

Ofer Elior*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

In his Guide of the Perplexed II:8 Moses Maimonides (1138-1204) discusses an opinion according to which sounds are produced by the motions of heavenly bodies. In that chapter Maimonides refers explicitly to Aristotle's refutation of the Pythagorean concept of cosmic music. In addition, Maimonides explains that this concept, or the astronomy on which it is based, has not been demonstrated to be true. Accordingly, many, and apparently most of Maimonides' medieval readers concluded that the Great Eagle rejected the belief in celestial sounds. This paper examines three medieval interpretations of Maimonides' stance which diverged from the consensus. According to these interpretations, authored by Yom Tov Lipmann Mühlhausen, David Messer Leon, and an anonymous author probably active in Italy, Maimonides did not dismiss the possibility of celestial sounds. The paper explains the contexts in which the interpretations are presented and investigates the authors' justification of their atypical stance.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)283-303
Number of pages21
JournalRevue des Etudes Juives
Volume172
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes

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