At the opposite pole to the Rashbam’s exegesis stands the Mishneh Torah of Maimonides (died 1204). Judging by his introduction and from hints culled from his letters, it appears that he wanted to reduce all of the Torah to practical halakhah, leaving the rest of his time for the study of other disciplines, principally philosophy, which to him was an integral part of Jewish learning and worship (not for its own sake, but as an instrument for the cultivation of proper belief). No wonder Maimonides’ attitude toward the anonymous sections of the Talmud, which consist primarily of the argumentational, was less than benign; indeed, he often ignored them. Many a so-called “difficult Rambam” would be less puzzling if one realized that Maimonides did not always reckon with the stam.

David Weiss Halivni, Midrash, Mishnah, and Gemara: The Jewish Predilection for Justified Law (Camridge, MA & London, UK: Harvard University Press, 1986), 111.

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