Maimonides and Aquinas on Language about God

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Thomas Aquinas and Moses Maimonides are non-Jews philosophers who brought about different views and evaluated how people depict the quality of God. They stipulated the facts about how people give God qualities that according to the philosophers, they had another way of describing the conditions. Maimonides, for example, examines different negations in relation to the attributes and the names of God. Maimonidess idea is to conflict the perception that the Jews had with relation to how they viewed the attributes of God. In Maimonides view, he regards that the anthropogenic perception of the Jews of God is due to their literal understanding of the scriptures. He believed that the nature of God is expressed metaphorically, and the attributes of God are not the way they are understood by many. Thomas Aquinas, on the other hand, brings out the attributes of God in two ways. He speaks about keeping silent about God and the cause of all existence.

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According to Maimonides, he believes in the existence of God and the attributes that are metaphorically highlighted and not as visible as the people might want to depict (Maimonides, 1903). He directly implicates that the fact that God is given attributes like being right or wise cannot entirely represent the quality of God. The language, however, does not imply that Maimonides does not believe in the existence of God. He only reveals that the words used to describe the nature of God are taken and understood literally. Maimonides brings out the negative theory that argues that the attributes that are given to God like good do not necessarily mean that the goodness of God can be different from the goodness of human being. His argument goes as much as critically examining the language in the context of naming and giving characters to God.

The fact that God is good only implies that he is not evil. Maimonides in his philosophy he argues that the word good has to have a different deeper meaning than the literal meaning and the understanding that the Jews had to God (Maimonides, 1903). Maimonides concern on the anthropomorphism concludes on the meaning of the silent is the praise of thee his view, however, describes God inaccurately and end up creating an image that leads and bring out something different from what God is. The context introduces the idea of mental idolatry whereby people have a different God in mind that they worship due to having a different understanding of the attributes of God. He critiques the people who usually perform miracles basing on the attributes of God that they do not understand well. He believes that the attributes of God are like a parable. He suggests that the person, who only speaks about God through praise, will only reveal what he has represented to himself on the attributes of God. He suggested that those people who would rather spend a lot of hours on the prayers and the sermons they have created solely took God as an object of the study for their tongues. Those people spoke at great length about their sermons do not have the understanding of the nature of God, but instead, they worship what they have composed and imitate it to glorify God.

The way Maimonides describe the negative theory of the understanding of the nature of God reveals that in his opinion, there are many people in this sense he targets the Jews who have the simple meaning of the names that are given to describe the nature of God. He argues that the fact that some individuals think and even mention God, and he or she does not have the knowledge but merely follows on the adopted belief and mere imagination due to the dependence on another persons authority and direction (Maimonides, 1903). The described characters do not think about God since they do not have the know-how of what they are talking about. The fact that someone is talking about something that he is imagining means he does not know what he is talking about. The God that he mentions in his imagination does not correspond to the deity that is real. The character and the attributes are invented, and that cannot be used to understand the nature of God. In simple terms, the existence of God should be described by the people who have the understanding and the complete knowledge of God.

The belief of Maimonides is based on the fact that the actual representation of God can be done by the people who do not need to utter the sermons and the prayers. The truth of God is apprehended and contained in them without the need to talk. He believes in the silence representation of praising God (Maimonides, 1903). The limitation and apprehensions to the silence depict the intellect of the person since it does not necessarily means that they have to shout and speak out the existence of God so they can believe and understand Him. Many people who even speak out on the goodness of God cannot account for that goodness. With regard to the way Maimonides gives out his ideas with reference to the Bible like his argument when he quotes from the Ecclesiastes 5:1, he supports the fact that the words that are supposed to be spoken should be few since the presence of God is everywhere that is He is in heaven and earth. With the way, he describes the attribute of God about the silence in praise reveals the fact that his theory is based on the issue of believing and keeping it to oneself.

The issue of Thomas Aquinas is different from the view of Maimonides. Aquinas also thinks on the fact silence in the praise of God. He, however, does not argue in the same line with Maimonides. He suggests that the fact that God should be praised in silence does not mean that people should say nothing about Him or even inquire about His attributes. The fact that the attributes of God can be overwhelmingly understandable means that people can lack the ability to comprehend and fathom the nature of God. His idea is different compared to the Maimonidess approach whereby Aquinas way of thinking is based on the fact that understanding the divine power might be beyond an individual intellect and the capacity to understand. Thomas portrays the fact that people can have the knowledge of who God is by being able to comprehend what He is not.

Maimonides and Thomas have got one view in common though where they believe that as much as the attributes of God are concerned, people should have the knowledge of who God is. However, Aquinas talks about another way quite different from the Maimonides perspective. Aquinas reveals that when we get to know and acquire knowledge on the nature God, the more we get near to not understanding Him according to the intellect capacity. He advocates on the approach on the issue of removal. The approach explains the fact concerning the knowledge of God. Many people are striving to understand the nature and the attributes of God, and as they do so, the knowledge gets removed from their intellect. The more they struggle to appreciate the more the knowledge gets depleted from the mind. Thomas was more critical of the Maimonides negative theory where he argued that the attributes concerning God like God is right are more depicting the denial of something about who God is rather than affirming it.

According to Maimonides, he describes God as the necessary existence whereby when the intellects contemplate the Gods essence and the preceding of His will then the knowledge will automatically change to ignorant. In reality, it is revealed that when as a result of ignorance someone magnifies God due to His attributes and the proper qualifications then the gesture turns to incapacity and useless. Since God is separate from the creation, the main agenda is to be able to do an affirmation that He exists. The rest is only to adjust the language that will enable to make the people in question reach the conclusion. The only way that people can apprehend God according to Maimonides is through the appreciation of His work. That implies that the only way that people explains the attributes of God is by using their understanding. It is, therefore, safe to make the deduction on the fact that the language that is commonly used to describe the nature of God does not represent God.

In conclusion, the attributes and the knowledge of God can be derived from the act of creation. When everything about His nature might be incomprehensible the way of creation can bring out the affirmation of those qualities. As much as Aquinas and Maimonides are disagreeing on the issue of acquiring knowledge and the language of describing the nature of God, it should be clear that they only disagree on how the Jews used to misunderstand the attributes of God by taking the literary meaning rather than the metaphorical meaning. The fact that people Believes in Gods goodness they should be able to understand the act of goodness and not just accept it on the imagination point of view.


(2015). Retrieved 20 December 2015, from BIBLIOGRAPHY \l 2057 Maimonides, M. (1903). The Guide for the Perplexed. Retrieved December 20, 2015, from Sacred Texts Judaism:

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