“Silence Is Praise to You”

Guide I: 68 presents two challenges to Maimonides’ negative theology. In I: 50–60 Maimonides insists that we cannot ascribe positiveattributes to God; however, in I: 68, he affirms that God is intellect. Second, I: 56 and III: 20 assert that divine and human knowledge have nothing in common; “knowledge” is a purely equivocal term. However, I: 68 emphasizes that both divine and human knowledge exhibit a unity between subject, object, and the act of intellection. Guide I: 53 and I: 58 offer a resolution to the first contradiction: intellect can be seen as an attribute of action. Guide I: 57 offers a resolution to the second problem: Maimonides describes a similarity between God’s knowledge and ours through “looseness of expression” [tasāmuh], which directs the mind towards a mystery it cannot fully grasp. Looseness of expression, attributes of action, and the way of negation ensure that the being we worship is truly God, and make room for genuine religious experience
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DOI 10.5840/acpq200276144
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