Lecture: "Tranquility and Toil: Maimonides on the Ultimate Perfection of Human Intellect"


Location: online

The great 12th-century Jewish philosopher Moses Maimonides mentions in the introduction of the Guide of the Perplexed the rest of the soul and the ease of body as the ends of the process of relieving the perplexities. For Maimonides, the tranquility of the soul is achieved by refraining from the futile inquiry on questions beyond the ken of human reason. In light of his epistemological reading of the parable of Adam’s fall, the rest of the body from toil and labor indicates the suspension of the bodily faculties (perception and imagination) in probing the metaphysical realm. The same condition appears in Maimonides’ description of the extra effort the philosophers need to make to attain the ultimate perfection represented by the prophets. The latter attain the knowledge of God’s governance of the world in conjunction with the Agent Intellect. In order to guarantee the function of this intellectual intuition, the interference of imagination should be suppressed by spiritual exercises.
Registration required for this virtual event; presentation will be made in Chinese. The lecture will be recorded and all registrants will receive the recording after the event.

This lecture is the third in a series cosponsored by the Beijing Global Gateway and the Jacques Maritain Center at the University of Notre Dame with the Thomistic Institute at the Angelicum in Rome.