Maimonides, Moses (1135-1204)

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Moses Maimonides, also known as Moses ben Maimon, was one of the foremost intellectuals of medieval Judaism. He was born on March 30, 1135, in the city of Córdoba in Islamic Spain, and he spent his entire life among the Muslims, practicing his faith in private while earning the respect and admiration of the sultans as a legal scholar, a philosopher, and a physician. The scion of a family of wealthy merchants, Maimonides originally hoped to be able to dedicate himself to rabbinical studies, but after the death of his brother in a shipwreck that ruined the family business, he was compelled to study the healing arts. His fame as a physician soon became widespread, and he had no difficulty supporting his family. He moved to Egypt and became the court doctor to Sultan Saladin (1137/8-1193), the famous Islamic military leader. He also became the acknowledged head of the Jewish community in Fostat, near Cairo. In his spare time he wrote many volumes on Jewish legal tradition and philosophy. He is best known for his lexicographic works in logic and his piece on the relationship of reason to religion, A Guide to the Perplexed. Like his Islamic counterpart, Averroes, Maimonides considered philosophy and religion to be mutually supportive. He also thought more attention should be paid to making Judaism consistent with rational thought. He died in Egypt on December 13, 1204.


Works by the Author

Friedlander, M., trans. The Guide for the Perplexed. 2d ed. London: George Routledge & Sons, Ltd., 1951.

Friedlander, M., trans. The Guide for the Perplexed. 2d ed. Pardes Publishing House, Inc., 1904.

Works about the Author

Rabinowitz, Jacob J., trans. The Code of Maimonides-The Book of Civil Laws, Book 13. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1949.

Hershman, Abraham M., trans. The Code of Maimonides-The Book of Judges, Book 14. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1949.


The biographical material about the author originally appeared on The Goodrich Room: Interactive Tour website.

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