“From Moses to Moses”: Late Medieval Jewish and Christian Interpretation of Moses’s Prophecy

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The paper examines how the figure of the biblical Moses was philosophically interpreted in medieval Jewish and Christian writings. It highlights a turning point in a new concept of prophecy and scriptural authority and suggests that this transformation was made complicated for both Jewish and Christian intellectuals by the appearance of Moses Maimonides, who was most influential in promoting the Muslim model of philosophic interpretation of prophecy, and at the same time confusingly emerged as a living manifestation of semi-biblical authority. Against Jewish exclusivist interpretation of Mosaic law as the leading polemical argument to encounter competing revelations, the first part of my paper points out a mechanism of “Jewish successionism”, i.e., the re-interpretation of the biblical Moses as an instrument for rationalizing normative paradigmatic shift. The second, main part of the paper turns to the Latin translation of Maimonides’s Guide of the Perplexed, placing it in the midst of a crucial western Latin turn into a new phase of engagement with Old Testament concept of prophecy. A short comparison between some prominent twelfth century figures and later Scholastic thought demonstrates the central role of the new Arab Aristotelianism in general, and that of Maimonides in particular. Maimonides reception among the schoolman will culminate in the writings of Meister Eckhart, exposing the full potentiality of the double appearance of the Egyptian (Rabbi) Moses.
Original languageEnglish
Article number632
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2020


FundersFunder number
Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
Liaoning Medical University


    • Meister Eckhart
    • Hildegard of Bingen
    • Thomas Aquinas
    • Medieval philosophy
    • Moses Maimonides
    • Moses
    • Bible exegesis
    • Muslims
    • Religion
    • Christianity
    • Jews
    • Maimonides (Moses ben Maimon) (1135-1204)
    • bible exegesis
    • medieval philosophy


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