||Text with several commentaries.
Maimonides wrote his work for someone who was firm in his religious beliefs and practices, but, having studied philosophy, was perplexed by the literal meaning of biblical anthropomorphic and anthropopathic terms. To this person Maimonides showed that these difficult terms have a spiritual meaning besides their literal one, and that it is the spiritual meaning that applies to G-d. Maimonides also undertook in the Guide the explanation of obscure biblical parables. Thus, the Guide is devoted to the philosophic interpretation of Scripture, or, to use Maimonides' terms, to the "science of the Law in its true sense" or to the "secrets of the Law" (Guide, introd.).
The enigmatic nature of the Guide imposed great difficulties on medieval and modern commentators, and two schools of interpretation arose. Some, while aware of Maimonides' method, consider him a philosopher who attempted to harmonize the teachings of religion with those of philosophy. Others, however, considered Maimonides a philosopher, whose views were in agreement with those of the rationalistic Aristotelians, and who expressed religious opinions largely as a concession to the understanding of the masses. For example, Maimonides, according to the first interpretation, believed that the world was created, while according to the second, his true view was that the world is eternal.
The printer, Israel ben Abraham, was a proselyte, one who reputedly had previously been a priest, and after his conversion eschewed the sobriquets common among converts such as Avinu or the Ger. Israel ben Abraham converted to Judaism in Amsterdam, where he wrote a Yiddish-Hebrew grammar Mafte’ach Loshen ha-Kodesh (Amsterdam, 1713). After leaving Amsterdam he printed in various locations in Germany, including Koethen, Jessnitz, and Wandsbeck. Israel ben Abraham's printing-press was supported by several court Jews, including Moses Benjamin Wullf, Assur Marx, and Issachar ha-Levi Bermann (Behrend Lehmann) of Halberstadt.