Professor Dawkins: Unfair to Maimonides ?
I don't have a copy of the God Delusion in front of me, so I going based on what I remember from what I read.
I think Professor Dawkins quoted from Maimonides' Code of Jewish law in The God Delusion. I don't remember which section of the Code was quoted, but I believe the purpose of the quote was to show that Maimonides endorsed a position of Jewish Law which would be unacceptable to modern sensibilites.
I would not argue with the Professor over what he chose to quote, or even his view of Maimondes, based on what he has read. I would like to point out, however, that for many of us who have lived in the Orthodox Jewish community, Maimonides has been an inspiration, or more like a light in the darkness.
It is because of Maimonides' philosophical works that many of us came to the point where we could read about and ultimately accept the theory of evolution, which was and continues to be under attack in Orthodoxy.
It is because of Maimonides that many of us have come to the view, not endorsed by most of Orthodoxy, that there is no "essential" difference between Jews and non-Jews.
It is because of Maimonides that many of us are able to investigate and embrace much of Western culture, which is under severe and repeated attack in the Orthodox Community.
Maimonides taught us to accept the truth, whatever it's source. Maimonides taught us that if something is demonstrated to be true by science, then we MUST accept it and work to integrate that truth within the teachings of the Torah.
It is no accident of history that Maimonides' philosophical works were burned by the Jewish establishment of his day, even though he was a recognized expert in the Law.
In sum, many of us view Maimonides as a life-line thrown to us who were drowning in a sea of lunacy. He is a step on the way to freeing ourselves of ignorance and superstition. His world-view is not ours. He lived in the 12th century. His science was not the science of today. But the open-mindedness he demonstrates in his writings, and the willingness to admit ignorance and acccept what he sees as true from ANY source serve as an example and inspiration to many Orthodox Jews who yearn for intellectual freedom.
This is not meant as an attack on the Professor. It's just my way of giving another point of view.