Worship of the Heart

A Study of Maimonides' Philosophy of Religion

By Ehud Z. Benor

Subjects: Jewish Mysticism
Series: SUNY series in Jewish Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791426364, 262 pages, October 1995
Hardcover : 9780791426357, 262 pages, October 1995

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Table of contents



1. Prayer and Human Perfection

2. Prayer as Worship

3. Prayer and God's Knowledge

Conclusion: Prayer and Ordinary Experience


Select Bibliography

Name Index

Subject Index

Shows that for Maimonides (medieval Jewish philosopher) prayer as a pure act of worship is essential.


Benor's study offers a systematic Aristotelian account of Maimonides' philosophy of religion that reconciles the ideals of rabbinic Judaism with the sensibilities of a medieval Jewish philosopher, coherently unifies his work, and shows where Maimonides' uncompromising radicalism presents enduring and challenging insights to the history and the philosophy of religion.

Worship of the Heart explores Maimonides' contribution to the understanding of prayer, examining it against the background of two contrasting notions—dialogue and contemplation. The author argues that Maimonides integrates fundamental elements of these conceptions with his own insights to forge a mediating conception of prayer—a conception as constitutive of a world view.

Ehud Benor is Assistant Professor of Religion at Dartmouth College.


"This book is well written, tightly argued, and philosophically informed. It deals with an important issue that no one else has discussed in this detail. It is significant for Maimonides' scholarship and for philosophy of religion in general because it deals with a timeless question: the significance of prayer. Highly original and breaking new ground in its field, Worship of the Heart will be part of the standard literature on Maimonides. " — Kenneth Seeskin, Northwestern University

"This is an excellent and exceptionally exciting study. Benor's wide learning, his intelligence and intellectual acuity, as well as his willingness to tackle large, important, and difficult questions, are manifest on every page. " — Lawrence Kaplan, McGill University