The Book of Direction to the Duties of the Heart

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Liverpool University Press, 1973 M09 1 - 480 pages
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Bahya Ibn Pakuda was born c. 1050, and lived for some time in Saragossa in Spain. His major work was written in Arabic, but it is most well-known by its Hebrew title Hovot ha-Levavot (Duties of the Heart). It enjoyed enormous popularity and was reprinted many times.

In the book Bahya investigates the motivation of Jewish practice and embarks on a philosophical enquiry into the nature of God, religion, and man. He was very much influenced by the Neoplatonism of his age, as well as by the Muslim mystics.

This edition by Menahem Mansoor is the first translation of the work from the original Arabic text, and this shows a number of variations from the Hebrew version. He has added an Introduction and Notes which draw attention to the influences on Bahya’s thought and to other relevant material.

‘The accepted and normative translation . . . reliable and readable. This book belongs in even the smallest collections of Judaica, as well as of ethical literature.’ Choice


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Translators Introduction
Notes to Translators Introduction
The Book of Direction to the Duties of the Heart
On the Unity of God
On the Explanation of the Aspects of Meditation upon Creation and Gods Abundant Grace Shown in It
On Our Obligation of Obedience to God
On the Reliance upon God Alone
The Explanation of the Aspects of Repentance What is Essential to It and Its Consequences
On SelfReckoning for Gods Sake
On Asceticism Its Kinds and Advantages
On the True Love of God
Appendix Translated by David Goldstein
Selected Bibliography
General Index
Index of Biblical Passages

On the Pure Devotion of All Acts to God Alone
On Humility before God

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About the author (1973)

Menahem Mansoor is an archaeologist and Professor Emeritus of Hebrew and Semitic Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Mansoor is the former president and co-founder of the Madison Biblical Archaeological Society. Mansoor has written Jewish History and Thought: An Introduction, which covers the 3,500 years of Jewish history. He also wrote and directed the video, Signs, Symbols, and Scripts: Origins of Written Communication and the Birth of the Alphabet, which outlines the development of written communication from its most early origins to modern times.

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