Saturday, September 13, 2014

Free Will vs. Divine All-Knowing: a Jewish Medieval Philosophy Flash Fiction

            In the cardamom-scented evening, 11th-Century Egypt, turban on head, holy scroll before him, reclining on’s divan just-so, Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, called Maimonides, reclined on his right side. Tall, cool drink in his hand: sherbet, of cinnamon-ice, mixt with snow packt from Mount Abora.
            He writes: The way God sees the World. Unlike us Humanity. God above Time. Above Space. While we, Mortals, live along a Time-Line: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow. Hence, God knows all, while we live to discover, create, discern, what does the Future hold?
            He lay back, lay down his stylus, read the scroll, smiled.
            Thereafter: later 14th Century, France, Perpignan, Jewish community, occasionally protected by the Papacy; otherwise, caught by the Medieval Power-structure, like mice in a trap: here is Rabbi Levi ben Gershon, called Gersonides; like Maimonides, Aristotelian, but a Man with a Gloomy World-View, and why not?
Feather quill in hand, flickering candle, a night of clouds and rain: God knows generalities, not particulars.
For me, e.g., D.M., the writer of these words: rabbi, teacher, college instructor: God knows weekdays I go to college, why? To teach. Wearing what? Dress shirt, chinos, necktie. This outfit, God knows.
            God does not know details: the color, fit, ensemble: the blue, the brown, the grey, the black—here fits my Free Will: Absolute, but within a Limited Sphere.
            Maimonides limits Man; Gersonides, God.

            The World spins on….