Divine Revelation in the Epistemology of Maimonides

In a previous article, I wrote about the centrality of the divine to Socrates’ epistemology. Here, I will discuss the source of prophecy in Maimonides’ epistemology. Over a millennium after Socrates, Maimonides echoes similar sentiments in his discourse on prophets in Book Two of The Guide for the Perplexed. He writes with the Aristotelian methodology prevalent in Egypt at his time to conclude that a man can be perfectly well-read and even have great character yet still not attain the status of prophet. Maimonides points out that knowledge and other forms of human wisdom, while necessary, are not sufficient to … Continue reading “Divine Revelation in the Epistemology of Maimonides”

Divine Revelation in the Epistemology of Socrates

Socrates is the beloved father of western philosophy, but I have found that many people discuss only part of his philosophy—that true wisdom is awareness of one’s own ignorance. Many stop at Socratic irony, glossing over another central theme of Socrates’ dialogues: the role of the gods in the guidance of ignorant human beings. Indeed, this theme is a necessary part of Socrates’ formula in his understanding of the world, for Socrates does think that men have a shot at attaining truth, despite their pathetic state of ignorance. Socrates’ own interpretations of his personal experiences of divine revelation give us … Continue reading “Divine Revelation in the Epistemology of Socrates”