Sometimes it seems when Jews identify themselves as jews without some post-post modern prefix to the J word that there is less anti-semitism.A plain garden variety jew without weight of being an inconvenient and totally chance birth defect to be hidden. What it does make clear is that the secular/theist/atheist identity that seemed to be constructed, jerry-mandered around he cult of Spinoza cannot be thought of as an enduring foundation for modern jewish identity, are world of assimilation and not acculturation; and it clarifies the difference between Maimonides as a pillar of what constitutes identity as distinct from being saddled as proto-Spinoza who prepared the path for the Dutch lens grinder and godfather of secularism.
Maimonides dismissed the types of ethnic interpretation of the “chosen” interpellation of the Jewish People which took Jews as essentially distinct from, and often intrinsically superior to non-Jews. Maimonides,likely correctly, held Jews to be different or “other” from non-Jews only to the degree that Jews adhere to the teachings of Torah, which was the essential relationship and one which removed ethnicity and culture from the equation. A kind of merit system based on conduct. In short, to Rambam, there are no different species of human beings. Just one.
As Maimonides wrote, all the Israelites who came out of Egypt in the Exodus were basically idol-worshippers in Egypt, “until G-d sent Moshe Rabbeinu and gathered us in under the wings … us and all proselytes, and established one Law for us all.”
Maimonides implied, inferred, that Jews and non-Jews were equal members of the human species. One. Almost all the ancestors, the stiff-necked, were idolators until a collective conversion to Judaism at Sinai with the giving of the Torah. To Maimonides, those who subsequently joined the Jewish People as proselytes, are actually superior to Jews by birth, since what is central to Judaism is not ethnicity but an embracing to the Torah….
(see link at end)…What is clear, I maintain, is that the distinction between Jew and Gentile will disappear by the time that the messianic
process has reached completion. In making this claim, I stand opposed to those who interpret Maimonides in a more particularist fashion, according to whom even at the end of days for Maimonides the Jews will remain God’s chosen people, especially beloved, and distinct from the mass of humanity. I also stand opposed to those who might want to read Maimonides in a pluralist fashion, as if he holds that in the messianic era many different paths will lead equally to God. Rather, I read him as a messianic universalist.
The distinction between Jew and Gentile will disappear. This needs clarification….
Let us distinguish between the Torah, as it were, of Noah, the Torah, as it were, of Abraham, and the Torah of Moses. As I will point out below, the Torah of Noah includes neither the affirmation of God’s existence nor the obligation to worship God. The Torah of Abraham can be seen as bu
ng on the Torah of Noah, but adding the affirmation of God’s existence and the obligation (and, I would add, the privilege) of worshiping God. This Torah is meant for all human beings. The Torah of Moses can be seen as either a special boon to the Jewish people, or as a concession to their primitive …All humanity will accept and observe the…
…relevant texts, Maimonides claims that in the messianic era Jews will observe the Torah of Moses while Gentiles will observe the Noahide laws. …
…Torah of Moses character (as evidenced by the episode of the golden calf). A radical reading of Maimonides would see him as envisioning a messianic era in which all humans, including the people of Israel, would observe the Torah of Abraham, and not the Torah of Moses. A more
conservative but still universalist reading of Maimonides would see him as envisioning a messianic era in which all human beings observe the Torah of Moses. Particularist readings of Maimonides would have him envision a messianic era in which Jews observe the Torah of Moses and Gentiles observe either the Noahide laws or the Torah of Abraham. On my understanding, Maimonides is a conservative universalist: all humanity will accept and observe the Torah of Moses by the time that the messianic era reaches fruition.
My friend and colleague, R. Chaim Rapoport, is convinced that my understanding of Maimonides is mistaken.Read More:http://www.yctorah.org/component/option,com_docman/task,doc_view/gid,701/