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JWC2070 - Maimonides' Principles of the Jewish Faith

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Shimon Cowen


Not offered in 2007


The course examines the major topics of Jewish belief, including the existence, unity, incorporeality and eternity of the Creator, the address of prayer, revelation prophecy and the integrity of the tradition, providence, reward and punishment, the messiah and resurrection. This is viewed through the great systematic theology of Maimonides, with reference to other major theologians in the tradition and as well as subsequent commentary and texts relating to the topics of Maimonides' principles.


Upon successful completion of this unit students will:

  1. have acquired substantive knowledge of the philosophical and theological structure of the thirteen principles of the faith of Maimonides, as possibly the greatest systematic statement of Jewish belief.
  2. be able critically to apply these principles to a variety of specific ethical and philosophical issues, to see how in short these principles operate in practical life experience (the belief in providence, the concept of Rabbinic legal authority and so forth).
  3. have developed the capacity to read and interpret by themselves texts from Jewish tradition (translated into English) relevant to the issues of Maimonides' theological system.
  4. have developed research and investigative skills in the preparation of tutorial papers and research essays exploring further commentary and analysis of themes in Jewish theology
  5. have developed independent, critical discussion in relation to the principles of classical Jewish theology.


Exam 2 hours (40%); tutorial presentation (500 words) and participation (20%); long essay (2,000 words) (40%)

Contact hours

One 90-minute lecture followed by a one-hour seminar


First year sequence in Jewish Civilisation or Religion and Theology or Philosophy; or 12 points at level 2 in Jewish Civilisation or Religion and Theology or Philosophy; or by special permission