Miracles in Rambam’s Thought—a Function of Prophecy

Maimonides (Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon) is quite the religious rationalist – instead of hewing towards the mystic or supernatural, he prefers philosophical rationalism. To the point where he holds that – even in the Torah, properly read – supernatural miracles do not exist.  If someone were to write this today, much of the Orthodox community would likely view him as Reform, or as a kofer; yet Maimonides is the philospher-rabbi par excellance, and is generally considered one of Judaism’s greatest authorities,

In Ḥakirah, the Flatbush Journal of Jewish Law and Thought, David Guttman writes:


Rambam sees a connection and a parallel between Moshe’s apprehension of God and his performance of miracles. Moshe’s ability to perform the necessary miracles was dependent on the same understanding of God that was required for giving the Torah.

It is our goal in this article to try and understand how these two attributes of Moshe, prophecy and miraculous deeds, are linked and hopefully get a picture of Rambam’s understanding of Moshe’s miracles and miracles in the Torah in general.

….”Following our understanding of Rambam we have defined miracles as properties present in nature that require certain convergences of cause and effect to occur. They are seen as miracles because of the way they occur either rarely or fortuitously. In reality they are preset and would occur with or without human (prophetic) intervention. It is up to the prophet to learn about them and use them where necessary. Depending on the circumstances and stakes involved, the level of certainty allows the prophet to act on his information. Moshe’s level of prophecy afforded him the courage and certainty to act even when the stakes involved put the future of the nation at risk.”

Miracles in Rambam’s Thought—a Function of Prophecy
By: DAVID GUTTMANN, Ḥakirah, the Flatbush Journal of Jewish Law and Thought

Miracles in Rambam’s Thought— a Function of Prophecy

All articles from Ḥakirah, the Flatbush Journal of Jewish Law and Thought

Jewish views of miracles – an overview



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