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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.