In this video Rabbi Jacobs discusses Maimonides system of thought, his philosophy, his view of the cosmos and his attitudes to the commandments. He considers Maimonides’s supreme idea, that Judaism as God’s law has purpose and that a state of intellectual perfection is the supreme achievement.
However it is a mistake to think of Maimonides as a rationalist, in the sense that we mean it. The universe he inhabited was not our universe. For all his greatness he was limited by his picture of the geocentric universe, his own cultural environment and the fact that he lived in the Middle Ages. He could not have faced the sort of questions that we arrive at through modern science, literature and humanities. Nor could his upbringing in an Islamic milieu have enabled him to have the same social attitudes as his contemporaries in Northern Europe.