Wolfson of Harvard at Student Forum; Lecturer Strikes New Note in Discussing Rambam Before Large Group (Vol. 1, Issue 4)
Dr. Harry Wolfson, Professor of Semitic Philosophy of Harvard University, and a former student of the Yeshiva, delivered the second of a series of lectures on the Life and Works of Maimonides in the dormitory Social Hall last Sunday night, before and assemblage of over 200 students, faculty members, and visitors.
The lecturer was introduced by Dr. Bernard Revel, president of the faculty of Yeshiva College and Rosh-Ha-Yeshiva, who acted as chairman of the evening.
Dr. Revel in his introductory remarks asserted that the discussion of Maimonides in Yeshiva College is not merely incidental to his 800th anniversary, “for Maimonides is with the students daily in their study and practice.” “To discuss the Rambam,” declared Dr. Revel, “is of tremendous interest to us at all times for he embodies within his own personality every phase of Jewish life. Maimonides is to us the fully developed Jew.
Describing Professor Wolfson as one of the world’s greatest authorities on Scholastic philosophy in general and Jewish philosophy in particular, Dr. Revel pointed out how fortunate the students were to have a man of such calibre address them.
Professor Wolfson expressed his satisfaction at returning to the institution of which he was once a student, and of being able to discuss Maimonides with those whose Talmudic training qualify them for a better understanding of the Rambam.
Bringing to bear in a novel manner on Maimonides’ philosophy the approach that is usually associated with his Halacha, Professor Wolfson dwelled at length on the interpretation of several portions of “The Guide To The Perplexed” that have puzzled Maimonides commentators.
The vast erudition of the lecturer, his command of the entire field of ancient and medieval philosophy, and his fine appreciation of the historical setting of Maimonides’ works, were brought to bear in masterful fashion on various problems that Professor Wolfson dealt with in the course of the evening. In considerable detail, he showed the care with. which Maimonides analyzed and pondered his material, and this thorough acquaintance with his forerunners and contemporary philosophers.
“Maimonides expresses an individual philosophy which has as its source, the Talmud,” Dr. Wolfson declared.