Maimonides' “True Religion”: For Jews or All Humanity?

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According to Maimonides all humanity will adopt Dat ha-Eemet (the true religion) by the time the messianic era reaches fruition. The dat in question can refer either to the Torah of Noah, to the Torah of Abraham, or to the Torah of Moses. Chaim Rapoport maintains it refers to the Torah of Noah; I argue here that it refers to the Torah of Moses. I approach the issue philosophically, asking which position coheres best with Maimonides' overall view of Torah and humanity. I show that Maimonides, who believed that all human beings are equally created in the image of God and that our godliness is our ability to reason, could not hope for a messianic era in which Jews and Gentiles remain distinct. For Maimonides Jewish ethnicity is accidental, not essential, to Judaism. This reading accords well with Maimonides' dogma-centered notion of what constitutes Jewish identity. Chaim Rapoport provides a final short response.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages28
JournalMeorot: A Forum of Modern Orthodox Discourse
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2008


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