יום שבת, 4 בינואר 2014

"Or it was an Act of Miracles": The Place of Miracles in Nachmanides’ Interpretive Decisions

Dr. Miriam Sklarz
The Bialik Institute

Nachmanides’ philosophy of miracles, as presented to the reader in his biblical commentaries, sermons and responsa, is a central and characteristic component of his system of thought.  In Nachmanides’ view, the concept of the miracle is of cardinal importance, since on the miracles are founded the three most basic principles of faith: creation ex nihilo, divine knowledge and providence.  His extensive theological discussions on the miraculous and his decisive declarations of its absolute validity,
have led many of his commentators and analysts to describe his position as maximalist to the extreme, in contrast to the minimalist outlook of Maimonides. D. Berger has disagreed with this notion and sought to demonstrate, to the contrary, Nachmanides’ tendency towards a naturalistic explanation of events.   In this study we aim to show that Berger’s thesis does not accord with the tenor of Nachmanides’ exegesis of the Pentateuch.  We will show that in Nachmanides’ commentary, no unambiguous trend towards a naturalistic interpretation can be demonstrated, and indeed, an interpretative mode widespread in Nachmanides’ comments indicates on the contrary that he consciously and purposely refrains from deciding between the natural and the miraculous.

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