What is the original phrasing of the "gates of interpretation are not locked before us" (i.e. ולא שערי הפירוש סתומים בפנינו) in Guide to the Perplexed 2:25? That is, what is it in Rambam's Judeo-Arabic?


2 Answers 2


There's an edition containing (only) the original Judeo-Arabic on Seforim Online. Assuming that what you're looking for is what's translated in this Hebrew translation as

וגם אין שערי הפירוש בעניין חידוש העולם נעולים בפנינו ולא נמנעים ממנו

The relevant line in the Judeo-Arabic seems to be on page 229 of the book (found on page 131 of the PDF), line 10:

ולא אבואב אלתאויל איצא מסדודה פי וגׄוהנא ולא ממתנעה עלינא פי אמר חדותׄ אלעלם


  • I'm not certain that I picked the exact right end of the phrase.

  • There are symbols over some of the letters that are not available with the local Hebrew keyboard.

  • Erm can anyone find the correct image?
    – Double AA
    Feb 23, 2015 at 21:59
  • @DoubleAA, I gave it a shot. I'm pretty confident in the beginning of the phrase, since "וגם אין שערי הפירוש," GTranslated to Arabic, yields something that starts out sounding "ולא אבואב," and the footnote in the Hebrew on "הפירוש" refers to "תאויל." It might be worth checking my transcription and also seeing if you can confirm the phrase-end.
    – Isaac Moses
    Feb 25, 2015 at 22:19
  • @IsaacMoses Will try. If I haven't done so by Nisan ping me again.
    – Double AA
    Feb 25, 2015 at 22:24
  • 1
    @DoubleAA If I haven't pinged you by Iyyar, remind me.
    – Isaac Moses
    Feb 25, 2015 at 22:30
  • 1
    @IsaacMoses From what I can tell (with help from Google Translate), your endpoint appears to be correct; אלעלם corresponds to העולם, and ימכננא תאויל corresponds to יכולים לפרש. The Hebrew translation you provided rearranged the words; following the original word order would yield Hebrew more like: "וגם אין שערי הפירוש נעולים בפנינו ולא נמנעים ממנו בעניין חידוש העולם".
    – Fred
    Feb 27, 2015 at 8:31

The word that is translated פירוש is تَأْوِيل taʾwīl, an infinitive from the second form of the root أول. Here are a few of the definitions given in Lane's Lexicon:

-The turning of a verse of the Kurʾan from its apparent meaning to a meaning which it bears, or admits.

-Rendering in a manner not according to the letter, or overt sense; explaining the covert, or virtual meaning; interpreting in a manner not according to the obvious meaning.

-Explaining the meaning of that which is equivocal or ambiguous, i.e., what is not understood without repeated consideration.

  • I believe he was looking for the original phrase, which was provided by Alex.
    – Seth J
    Jan 24, 2013 at 19:33
  • 1
    Yes, of course. I just assumed it would be relevant to add some explanation and would make the question and answer more useful.
    – paquda
    Jan 24, 2013 at 19:57

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