Maimonides in His World: Portrait of a Mediterranean Thinker

By Sarah Stroumsa | Go to book overview

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The decision to write the present book was made in 2006, when I was enjoying a sabbatical year as a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. The CAJS provided ideal working conditions, a supportive staff, and a wonderful group of colleagues. Without all these, this book would have waited seven more years, if not more. In particular, I wish to thank the Center's Director, Professor David Ruderman, for his kind support; Etty Lassman, whose resourcefulness and dedication allowed me to move, with my antique files, into the twentyfirst century; and the library staff—in particular, Dr. ArthurKiron, Dr. SethDershowitz, JudithHalper, and JosephGulka—who painstakingly retrieved books and articles and shared my enthusiasm for their content.

A previous Sabbatical allowed me to spend, in 2000, a wonderful six months in Madrid. The scholars of the Instituto des Estudios Arabes at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas welcomed me, with their customary warmth, to the world of al- Andalus, and shared with me their erudition. For this experience of true convivencia I am grateful to them, and in particular to Maribel Fierro, Mercedes García- Arenal, and Cristina de la Puente.

If I count the landmarks in the production of this book in terms of sabbaticals, this is due to the liberality of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In a world where the patience for academic scholē is growing thin, the Hebrew University continues to recognize the importance of scholarly mobility and international exposure and to support it generously. My foremost debt to the Hebrew University, however, is for the constant experience of intellectual challenge it provides. As a member of two of its departments (the Department of Arabic Language and Literature and the Department of Jewish Thought) I was introduced to a double share of its intellectual riches. I wish to take this opportunity to thank my friends at the Hebrew University—teachers, colleagues, and students—for their erudition, intellectual curiosity, friendly criticism, and kind encouragement that have inspired and sustained me over the years.

In writing about Maimonides, the memory of two of my teachers accompanies my every word: my high school teacher Yaacov Meir, whose classes vibrated with the moral and intellectual relevance of the Eight Chapters; and Shlomo Pines, the unassuming mentor, the critical thinker of philosophy in context. For the privilege of their inspiration I am forever grateful.

-xvii-

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