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Abstract(Extract) Let us begin with a thought experiment. What would Judaism look like today had Maimonides not lived? Had he not created the first systematic and comprehensive code of Jewish law (Mishneh Torah) would his successors in that project, R. Jacob ben Asher, author of the Arba’ah Turim, and R. Joseph Karo, author of the Shulhan Arukh, have had the vision and courage to embark on what would have been, if not for Maimonides, a revolutionary innovation? The Mishneh Torah is revolutionary in three ways: it was comprehensive, covering every aspect of Jewish law, including vast areas of Jewish practice which, in Maimonides’ day, were simply inapplicable; it was systematic, almost geometrical in its approach (I like to tell my students that the Mishneh Torah involves the application of Greek modes of thought – systematic, axiomatic – to Jewish content – halakhah); and it was an apodictic code, presenting the law in absolute terms, not Maimonides’ opinion about what the law should be. It is in every sense revolutionary, and without that revolutionary model it is unlikely that subsequent codifiers would have had the courage (and precedent) to do what they did.