30 March or 6 April 1135
Possibly born 28 March or 4 April 1138
Almoravid Empire (present-day Spain)
12 December 1204 (aged 69)
Ayyubid Sultanate (present-day Egypt)
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Moses ben Maimon (Hebrew: מֹשֶׁה בֶּן־מַיְמוֹן
Mōšeh bēn-Maymōn; Arabic: موسى بن ميمون Mūsā bin
Maymūn), commonly known as
my-MON-i-deez; Greek: Μαϊμωνίδης Maïmōnídēs; Latin:
Moses Maimonides), and also referred to by the acronym Rambam
(/ˌrɑːmˈbɑːm/; רמב״ם, for Rabbeinu Mōšeh bēn Maimon,
Moses son of Maimon"), was a medieval Sephardic Jewish
philosopher who became one of the most prolific and influential Torah
scholars of the Middle Ages. In his time, he was also a preeminent
astronomer and physician. Born in Córdoba, Almoravid
Empire (present-day Spain) on Passover Eve, 1135 or
1138, he worked as a rabbi, physician, and
Morocco and Egypt. He died in
Egypt on December 12,
1204, whence his body was taken to the lower Galilee and buried in
During his lifetime, most
Jews greeted Maimonides' writings on Jewish
law and ethics with acclaim and gratitude, even as far away as Iraq
and Yemen. Yet, while
Maimonides rose to become the revered head of
the Jewish community in Egypt, his writings also had vociferous
critics, particularly in Spain. Nonetheless, he was posthumously
acknowledged as among the foremost rabbinical arbiters and
philosophers in Jewish history, and his copious work comprises a
cornerstone of Jewish scholarship. His fourteen-volume Mishneh Torah
still carries significant canonical authority as a codification of
Talmudic law. He is sometimes known as "ha Nesher ha Gadol" (the great
eagle) in recognition of his outstanding status as a bona fide
exponent of the Oral Torah.
Aside from being revered by Jewish historians,
Maimonides also figures
very prominently in the history of Islamic and Arab sciences and is
mentioned extensively in studies. Influenced by Al-Farabi, Avicenna,
and his contemporary Averroes, he in his turn influenced other
prominent Arab and Muslim philosophers and scientists. He became a
prominent philosopher and polymath in both the Jewish and Islamic
2.1 Early years
2.3 Death of his brother
4 13 principles of faith
5 Legal works
6.1 Negative theology
6.3 The problem of evil
6.5 True beliefs versus necessary beliefs
6.6 Resurrection, acquired immortality, and the afterlife
6.7 Messianic era
6.8 The Oath of Maimonides
Maimonides and the Modernists
8 Tributes and memorials
9 Works and bibliography
9.1 Judaic and philosophical works
9.2 Medical works
9.3 Treatise on logic
10 See also
14 External links
His full Hebrew name is
Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (Hebrew: רבי משה
בן מימון), whose acronym forms "Rambam" (רמב"ם). His
Arabic name is Abū ʿImrān Mūsā bin Maimūn bin ʿUbaidallāh
al-Qurtabī (ابو عمران موسى بن ميمون بن عبيد
الله القرطبي) or Mūsā bin Maymūn (Arabic: موسى بن
ميمون) for short. In Latin, the Hebrew "ben" (son of) becomes
the Greek-style suffix "-ides" to form "
The dominion of the
Almohad Caliphate at its greatest extent, c. 1200
Further information: History of the
Egypt § Arab rule
(641 to 1250)
Maimonides was born in Córdoba during what some scholars consider to
be the end of the golden age of
Jewish culture in the Iberian
Peninsula, after the first centuries of the Moorish rule. At an early
age, he developed an interest in sciences and philosophy. He read
Greek philosophers accessible in
Arabic translations, and was
deeply immersed in the sciences and learning of Islamic culture.
Though the Gaonic tradition, especially in its North African version,
formed the basis of his legal thought, some scholars have argued in
the 21st century that Muslim law, including Almohad legal thought,
also had a substantial influence.
Maimonides was not known as a
supporter of mysticism, although a strong intellectual type of
mysticism has been discerned in his philosophy. He expressed
disapproval of poetry, the best of which he declared to be false,
since it was founded on pure invention. This sage, who was revered for
his personality as well as for his writings, led a busy life, and
wrote many of his works while travelling or in temporary
Torah under his father Maimon,
who had in turn studied under
Rabbi Joseph ibn Migash, a student of
Maimonides' house in Fez, Morocco
A Berber dynasty, the Almohads, conquered Córdoba in 1148, and
abolished dhimmi status (i.e., state protection of life and wealth) in
some of their territories. The loss of this protected status
threatened the Jewish and
Christian communities with conversion to
Islam, death, or exile. The historical records of abuses against
Jews in the immediate post-1148 period are subject to different
Jews were forced to convert, but due to
suspicion by the authorities of fake conversions, the new converts had
to wear identifying clothing that set them apart and made them subject
to public scrutiny.
Maimonides's family, along with most other Jews, chose exile. Some
say, though, that it is likely that
Maimonides feigned a conversion to
Islam before escaping. This forced conversion was ruled legally
invalid under Islamic law when brought up by a rival in Egypt. For
the next ten years,
Maimonides moved about in southern Spain,
eventually settling in Fez in Morocco. During this time, he composed
his acclaimed commentary on the
Mishnah in the years 1166–1168.
Following this sojourn in Morocco, together with two sons, he
sojourned in the Holy Land, before settling in Fustat,
1168. While in Cairo, he studied in a yeshiva attached to a small
synagogue (which now bears his name). In the Holy Land, he prayed
at the Temple Mount. He wrote that this day of visiting the Temple
Mount was a day of holiness for him and his descendants.
Maimonides shortly thereafter was instrumental in helping rescue Jews
taken captive during the
Christian King Amalric's siege of the
Egyptian town of Bilbays. He sent five letters to the Jewish
communities of Lower
Egypt asking them to pool money together to pay
the ransom. The money was collected and then given to two judges sent
to Palestine to negotiate with the Crusaders. The captives were
Death of his brother
Following this triumph, the
Maimonides family, hoping to increase
their wealth, gave their savings to his brother, the youngest son
David ben Maimon, a merchant.
Maimonides directed his brother to
procure goods only at the Sudanese port of ‘Aydhab. After a long
arduous trip through the desert, however, David was unimpressed by the
goods on offer there. Against his brother's wishes, David boarded a
ship for India, since great wealth was to be found in the East.
Before he could reach his destination, David drowned at sea sometime
between 1169 and 1177. The death of his brother caused
become sick with grief.
Monument in Córdoba
In a letter (discovered later in the Cairo Geniza), he wrote:
The greatest misfortune that has befallen me during my entire
life—worse than anything else—was the demise of the saint, may his
memory be blessed, who drowned in the Indian sea, carrying much money
belonging to me, to him, and to others, and left with me a little
daughter and a widow. On the day I received that terrible news I fell
ill and remained in bed for about a year, suffering from a sore boil,
fever, and depression, and was almost given up. About eight years have
passed, but I am still mourning and unable to accept consolation. And
how should I console myself? He grew up on my knees, he was my
brother, [and] he was my student.
Bas relief of
Maimonides in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Maimonides was appointed the
Nagid of the Egyptian Jewish
S.D. Goitein believes the leadership he
displayed during the ransoming of the Crusader captives led to this
appointment. With the loss of the family funds tied up in David's
Maimonides assumed the vocation of physician, for
which he was to become famous. He had trained in medicine in both
Córdoba and in Fez. Gaining widespread recognition, he was appointed
court physician to the Grand
Vizier Al Qadi al Fadil, then to Sultan
Saladin, after whose death he remained a physician to the royal
In his medical writings,
Maimonides described many conditions,
including asthma, diabetes, hepatitis, and pneumonia, and he
emphasized moderation and a healthy lifestyle. His treatises
became influential for generations of physicians. He was knowledgeable
about Greek and
Arabic medicine, and followed the principles of
humorism in the tradition of Galen. He did not blindly accept
authority but used his own observation and experience. Julia Bess
Frank indicates that
Maimonides in his medical writings sought to
interpret works of authorities so that they could become
Maimonides displayed in his interactions with patients
attributes that today would be called intercultural awareness and
respect for the patient's autonomy. Although he frequently wrote
of his longing for solitude in order to come closer to God and to
extend his reflections – elements considered essential in his
philosophy to the prophetic experience -he gave over most of his time
to caring for others. In a famous letter,
Maimonides describes his
daily routine: After visiting the Sultan's palace, he would arrive
home exhausted and hungry, where "I would find the antechambers filled
with gentiles and
Jews … I would go to heal them, and write
prescriptions for their illnesses … until the evening … and I
would be extremely weak." As he goes on to say in this letter,
even on the Sabbath he would receive members of the community. It is
remarkable that he managed to write extended treatises, including not
only medical and other scientific studies but some of the most
systematically thought-through and influential treatises on halakha
(rabbinic law) and
Jewish philosophy of the Middle Ages. In
Maimonides wrote his famous
Iggeret Teman (Epistle to
Yemen). It has been suggested that his "incessant travail"
undermined his own health and brought about his death at 69 (although
this is a normal lifespan). His rabbinic writings are valued as
fundamental and unparalleled resources for religious
Tomb of Maimonides
Tomb of Maimonides in Tiberias
Maimonides died on December 12, 1204 (20th of
Tevet 4965) in Fustat.
It is widely believed that he was briefly buried in the study room
(beit hamidrash) of the synagogue courtyard, and that, soon after, in
accordance with his wishes, his remains were exhumed and taken to
Tiberias, where he was re-interred. The
Tomb of Maimonides
Tomb of Maimonides on the
western shore of the
Sea of Galilee
Sea of Galilee in
Israel marks his grave. This
location for his final resting-place has been debated, for in the
Jewish Cairene community, a tradition holds that he remained buried in
Maimonides and his wife, the daughter of Mishael ben Yeshayahu Halevi,
had one child who survived into adulthood, Avraham, who became
recognized as a great scholar. He succeeded
Nagid and as
court physician at the age of eighteen. Throughout his career, he
defended his father's writings against all critics. The office of
Nagid was held by the
Maimonides family for four successive
generations until the end of the 14th century.
The philosopher/doctor is widely respected in
Spain and a statue of
him was erected in Córdoba near to the only synagogue in that city to
escape destruction during years of persecution. Although it no longer
functions as a Jewish house of worship, it is open to the public.
Maimonides is sometimes said to be a descendant of King David,
although he never made such a claim.
The title page of The Guide for the Perplexed
Torah is considered by
Jews even today as one of
the chief authoritative codifications of
Jewish law and ethics. It is
exceptional for its logical construction, concise and clear expression
and extraordinary learning, so that it became a standard against which
other later codifications were often measured. It is still closely
studied in rabbinic yeshivot (academies). A popular medieval saying
that also served as his epitaph states, From Mosheh (of the Torah) to
Mosheh (Maimonides) there was none like Mosheh. It chiefly referred to
his rabbinic writings.
Maimonides was also one of the most influential figures in
medieval Jewish philosophy. His brilliant adaptation of Aristotelian
thought to Biblical faith deeply impressed later Jewish thinkers, and
had an unexpected immediate historical impact. Some more
Jews in the century that followed his death, particularly
in Spain, sought to apply Maimonides's
Aristotelianism in ways that
undercut traditionalist belief and observance, giving rise to an
intellectual controversy in Spanish and southern French Jewish
circles. The intensity of debate spurred Catholic Church
interventions against "heresy" and a general confiscation of rabbinic
texts. In reaction, the more radical interpretations of Maimonides
were defeated. At least amongst Ashkenazi Jews, there was a tendency
to ignore his specifically philosophical writings and to stress
instead the rabbinic and halakhic writings. These writings often
included considerable philosophical chapters or discussions in support
of halakhic observance; David Hartman observes that
expressed "the traditional support for a philosophical understanding
of God both in the Aggadah of
Talmud and in the behavior of the hasid
[the pious Jew]." Maimonidean thought continues to influence
traditionally observant Jews.
The most rigorous medieval critique of
Maimonides is Hasdai Crescas's
Or Adonai. Crescas bucked the eclectic trend, by demolishing the
certainty of the Aristotelian world-view, not only in religious
matters but also in the most basic areas of medieval science (such as
physics and geometry). Crescas's critique provoked a number of
15th-century scholars to write defenses of Maimonides. A partial
translation of Crescas was produced by
Harry Austryn Wolfson of
Harvard University in 1929.
Because of his path-finding synthesis of
Aristotle and Biblical faith,
Maimonides had a fundamental influence on the great Christian
theologian Saint Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas refers specifically to
Maimonides in several of his works, including the Commentary on the
Maimonides's combined abilities in the fields of theology, philosophy
and medicine make his work attractive today as a source during
discussions of evolving norms in these fields, particularly medicine.
An example is the modern citation of his method of determining death
of the body in the controversy regarding declaration of death to
permit organ donation for transplantation.
13 principles of faith
Main article: Jewish principles of faith
In his commentary on the
Mishnah (tractate Sanhedrin, chapter 10),
Maimonides formulates his "13 principles of faith". They summarized
what he viewed as the required beliefs of Judaism:
The existence of God.
God's unity and indivisibility into elements.
God's spirituality and incorporeality.
God alone should be the object of worship.
Revelation through God's prophets.
The preeminence of
Moses among the prophets.
Torah that we have today is the one dictated to
Moses by God.
Torah given by
Moses will not be replaced and that nothing may be
added or removed from it.
God's awareness of all human actions and thoughts.
Reward of good and punishment of evil.
The coming of the Jewish Messiah.
The resurrection of the dead.
Maimonides compiled the principles from various Talmudic sources.
These principles were controversial when first proposed, evoking
criticism by Rabbis
Hasdai Crescas and Joseph Albo, and were
effectively ignored by much of the Jewish community for the next few
centuries. ("Dogma in Medieval Jewish Thought," Menachem Kellner).
However, these principles have become widely held and are considered
to be the cardinal principals of faith for Orthodox Jews. Two
poetic restatements of these principles (
Ani Ma'amin and Yigdal)
eventually became canonized in many editions of the "Siddur" (Jewish
Main article: Mishneh Torah
With Mishneh Torah,
Maimonides composed a code of
Jewish law with the
widest-possible scope and depth. The work gathers all the binding laws
from the Talmud, and incorporates the positions of the Geonim
(post-Talmudic early Medieval scholars, mainly from Mesopotamia).
Later codes of Jewish law, e.g.
Arba'ah Turim by
Rabbi Jacob ben Asher
Shulchan Aruch by
Rabbi Yosef Karo, draw heavily on Mishneh Torah:
both often quote whole sections verbatim. However, it met initially
with much opposition. There were two main reasons for this
Maimonides had refrained from adding references to
his work for the sake of brevity; second, in the introduction, he gave
the impression of wanting to "cut out" study of the Talmud, to
arrive at a conclusion in Jewish law, although
Maimonides later wrote
that this was not his intent. His most forceful opponents were the
Provence (Southern France), and a running critique by Rabbi
Abraham ben David (Raavad III) is printed in virtually all editions of
Mishneh Torah. It was still recognized as a monumental contribution to
the systemized writing of halakha. Throughout the centuries, it has
been widely studied and its halakhic decisions have weighed heavily in
In response to those who would attempt to force followers of
Maimonides and his Mishneh
Torah to abide by the rulings of his own
Shulchan Aruch or other later works,
Yosef Karo wrote: "Who
would dare force communities who follow the Rambam to follow any other
decisor, early or late? … The Rambam is the greatest of the
decisors, and all the communities of the
Land of Israel
Land of Israel and the
Arabistan and the
Maghreb practice according to his word, and accepted
him as their rabbi."
An oft-cited legal maxim from his pen is: "It is better and more
satisfactory to acquit a thousand guilty persons than to put a single
innocent one to death." He argued that executing a defendant on
anything less than absolute certainty would lead to a slippery slope
of decreasing burdens of proof, until we would be convicting merely
according to the judge's caprice.
Scholars specializing in the study of the history and subculture of
Judaism in premodern China (Sino-Judaica) have noted surprising
similarities between this work and the liturgy of the
descendants of Persian merchants who settled in the Middle Kingdom
during the early Song dynasty. Beyond scriptural similarities,
Michael Pollak comments the Jews' Pentateuch was divided into 53
sections according to the Persian style. He also points out:
There is no proof, to be sure, that
Kaifeng Jewry ever had direct
access to the works of "the Great Eagle," but it would have had ample
time and opportunity to acquire or become acquainted with them well
before its reservoir of Jewish learning began to run out. Nor do the
Maimonidean leanings of the kehillah contradict the historical
evidence that has the
Jews arriving in
Kaifeng no later than 1126, the
year in which the Sung fled the city—and nine years before
Maimonides was born. In 1163, when the kehillah built the first of its
Maimonides was only twenty-eight years old, so that it is
highly unlikely that even his earliest authoritative teachings could
by then have reached China.
One of the most widely referred to sections of the Mishneh
the section dealing with tzedakah. In Hilkhot Matanot Aniyim (Laws
about Giving to Poor People), Chapter 10:7–14,
Maimonides lists his
famous Eight Levels of Giving (where the first level is most
preferable, and the eighth the least):
Giving an interest-free loan to a person in need; forming a
partnership with a person in need; giving a grant to a person in need;
finding a job for a person in need; so long as that loan, grant,
partnership, or job results in the person no longer living by relying
Giving tzedakah anonymously to an unknown recipient via a person (or
public fund) which is trustworthy, wise, and can perform acts of
tzedakah with your money in a most impeccable fashion.
Giving tzedakah anonymously to a known recipient.
Giving tzedakah publicly to an unknown recipient.
Giving tzedakah before being asked.
Giving adequately after being asked.
Giving willingly, but inadequately.
Giving "in sadness" (giving out of pity): It is thought that
Maimonides was referring to giving because of the sad feelings one
might have in seeing people in need (as opposed to giving because it
is a religious obligation). Other translations say "Giving
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Maimonides teaching students about the 'measure of man'
in an illuminated manuscript.
Guide for the Perplexed
Guide for the Perplexed (which was initially written in
Arabic as Dalālat al-ḥāʾirīn) and the philosophical
introductions to sections of his commentaries on the Mishna,
Maimonides exerted an important influence on the Scholastic
philosophers, especially on Albert the Great,
Thomas Aquinas and Duns
Scotus. He was a Jewish Scholastic. Educated more by reading the works
of Arab Muslim philosophers than by personal contact with Arabian
teachers, he acquired an intimate acquaintance not only with Arab
Muslim philosophy, but with the doctrines of Aristotle. Maimonides
strove to reconcile Aristotelian philosophy and science with the
teachings of the Torah. In his Guide for the Perplexed, he often
explains the function and purpose of the statutory provisions
contained in the
Torah against the backdrop of the historical
Maimonides is said to have been influenced by Asaph
ha-Jehoudi, who was the first Hebrew medical writer.
The principle that inspired his philosophical activity was identical
to a fundamental tenet of Scholasticism: there can be no contradiction
between the truths which God has revealed and the findings of the
human mind in science and philosophy.
Maimonides primarily relied upon
the science of
Aristotle and the teachings of the Talmud, commonly
finding basis in the former for the latter. In some important points,
he departed from the teaching of Aristotle; for instance, he rejected
the Aristotelian doctrine that God's provident care extends only to
humanity, and not to the individual.
Maimonides' admiration for the neo-Platonic commentators led him to
doctrines which the later Scholastics did not accept. For instance,
Maimonides was an adherent of "negative theology" (also known as
"Apophatic theology".) In this theology, one attempts to describe God
through negative attributes. For instance, one should not say that God
exists in the usual sense of the term; it can be said that God is not
non-existent. We should not say that "God is wise"; but we can say
that "God is not ignorant," i.e., in some way, God has some properties
of knowledge. We should not say that "God is One," but we can state
that "there is no multiplicity in God's being." In brief, the attempt
is to gain and express knowledge of God by describing what God is not,
rather than by describing what God "is".
The Scholastics agreed that no predicate is adequate to express the
nature of God, but they did not say that no affirmative term could be
applied to God. They acknowledged that while the terms "eternal,"
"omnipotent," etc., as we apply them to God are inadequate, at the
same time we may say "God is eternal" etc. We need not stop, as
Maimonides did, with the negative "God is not not-eternal," etc.
Maimonides suggested that when people give God anthropomorphic
qualities, they do not explain anything more of what God is, because
people cannot know the essence.
Maimonides's use of apophatic theology is not unique to this time
period or to Judaism. For example,
Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite
Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite and
Maximus the Confessor, Eastern
Christian theologians, had developed
apophatic theology for Christianity nearly 900 years earlier. See
Negative theology for uses in other religions.
He agrees with "the Philosopher" (Aristotle) in teaching that the use
of logic is the "right" way of thinking. In order to build an inner
understanding of how to know God, every human being must, by study,
meditation and uncompromising strong will, attain the degree of
complete logical, spiritual and physical perfection required in the
prophetic state. Here he rejects previous ideas (especially portrayed
Rabbi Yehuda Halevi in "Hakuzari") that in order to become a
prophet, God must intervene.
Maimonides claims that any man has the
potential to become a prophet (not just Jews) and that in fact it is
the purpose of the human race.
The problem of evil
Maimonides wrote on theodicy (the philosophical attempt to reconcile
the existence of a God with the existence of evil). He took the
premise that an omnipotent and good God exists. In his
Guide for the Perplexed,
Maimonides writes that all the evil that
exists within human beings stems from their individual attributes,
while all good comes from a universally shared humanity (Guide 3:8).
He says that there are people who are guided by higher purpose, and
there are those who are guided by physicality and must strive to find
the higher purpose with which to guide their actions.
To justify the existence of evil, assuming God is both omnipotent and
Maimonides postulates that one who created something
by causing its opposite not to exist is not the same as creating
something that exists; so evil is merely the absence of good. God did
not create evil, rather God created good, and evil exists where good
is absent (Guide 3:10). Therefore, all good is divine invention, and
evil both is not and comes secondarily.
Maimonides contests the common view that evil outweighs good in the
world. He says that if one were to examine existence only in terms of
humanity, then that person may observe evil to dominate good, but if
one looks at the whole of the universe, then he sees good is
significantly more common than evil (Guide 3:12). Man, he reasons, is
too insignificant a figure in God's myriad works to be their primary
characterizing force, and so when people see mostly evil in their
lives, they are not taking into account the extent of positive
Creation outside of themselves.
Maimonides believes that there are three types of evil in the world:
evil caused by nature, evil that people bring upon others, and evil
man brings upon himself (Guide 3:12). The first type of evil
Maimonides states is the rarest form, but arguably of the most
necessary—the balance of life and death in both the human and animal
worlds itself, he recognizes, is essential to God's plan. Maimonides
writes that the second type of evil is relatively rare, and that
humanity brings it upon itself. The third type of evil humans bring
upon themselves and is the source of most of the ills of the world.
These are the result of people falling victim to their physical
desires. To prevent the majority of evil which stems from harm we do
to ourselves, we must learn how to ignore our bodily urges.
Further information: Jewish views on astrology
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Maimonides answered an inquiry concerning astrology, addressed to him
from Marseille. He responded that man should believe only what can
be supported either by rational proof, by the evidence of the senses,
or by trustworthy authority. He affirms that he had studied astrology,
and that it does not deserve to be described as a science. He
ridicules the concept that the fate of a man could be dependent upon
the constellations; he argues that such a theory would rob life of
purpose, and would make man a slave of destiny.
True beliefs versus necessary beliefs
Guide for the Perplexed
Guide for the Perplexed Book III, Chapter 28,
a distinction between "true beliefs," which were beliefs about God
that produced intellectual perfection, and "necessary beliefs," which
were conducive to improving social order.
anthropomorphic personification statements about God in the latter
class. He uses as an example the notion that God becomes "angry" with
people who do wrong. In the view of
Maimonides (taken from Avicenna),
God does not become angry with people, as God has no human passions;
but it is important for them to believe God does, so that they desist
from doing wrong.
Resurrection, acquired immortality, and the afterlife
Maimonides distinguishes two kinds of intelligence in man, the one
material in the sense of being dependent on, and influenced by, the
body, and the other immaterial, that is, independent of the bodily
organism. The latter is a direct emanation from the universal active
intellect; this is his interpretation of the noûs poietikós of
Aristotelian philosophy. It is acquired as the result of the efforts
of the soul to attain a correct knowledge of the absolute, pure
intelligence of God.
The knowledge of God is a form of knowledge which develops in us the
immaterial intelligence, and thus confers on man an immaterial,
spiritual nature. This confers on the soul that perfection in which
human happiness consists, and endows the soul with immortality. One
who has attained a correct knowledge of God has reached a condition of
existence, which renders him immune from all the accidents of fortune,
from all the allurements of sin, and from death itself. Man is in a
position to work out his own salvation and his immortality.
Spinoza's doctrine of immortality was strikingly similar. But Spinoza
teaches that the way to attain the knowledge which confers immortality
is the progress from sense-knowledge through scientific knowledge to
philosophical intuition of all things sub specie æternitatis, while
Maimonides holds that the road to perfection and immortality is the
path of duty as described in the
Torah and the rabbinic understanding
of the oral law.
Jews believed in immortality in a spiritual sense, and most
believed that the future would include a messianic era and a
resurrection of the dead. This is the subject of Jewish eschatology.
Maimonides wrote much on this topic, but in most cases he wrote about
the immortality of the soul for people of perfected intellect; his
writings were usually not about the resurrection of dead bodies.
Rabbis of his day were critical of this aspect of this thought, and
there was controversy over his true views.
Rabbinic works usually refer to this afterlife as Olam Haba (the World
to Come). Some rabbinic works use this phrase to refer to a messianic
era, an era of history here on Earth; in other rabbinic works this
phrase refers to a purely spiritual realm. During Maimonides's
lifetime the debate expanded into a full-blown controversy, with
Maimonides charged as a heretic by some Jewish leaders.
Jews at this time taught that
Judaism did not require a belief in
the physical resurrection of the dead, as the afterlife would be a
purely spiritual realm. They used Maimonides's works on this subject
to back up their position. In return, their opponents claimed that
this was outright heresy; for them the afterlife was here on Earth,
where God would raise dead bodies from the grave so that the
resurrected could live eternally.
Maimonides was brought into this
dispute by both sides, as the first group stated that his writings
agreed with them, and the second group portrayed him as a heretic for
writing that the afterlife is for the immaterial spirit alone.
Maimonides felt pressured to write a treatise on the
subject, the "Ma'amar Tehiyyat Hametim" "The Treatise on
Resurrection." Chapter two of the treatise on resurrection refers to
those who believe that the world to come involves physically
Maimonides refers to one with such beliefs, as
being an "utter fool" whose belief is "folly".
If one of the multitude refuses to believe [that angels are
incorporeal] and prefers to believe that angels have bodies and even
that they eat, since it is written (Genesis 18:8) 'they ate', or that
those who exist in the World to Come will also have bodies—we won't
hold it against him or consider him a heretic, and we will not
distance ourselves from him. May there not be many who profess this
folly, and let us hope that he will go no farther than this in his
folly and believe that the Creator is corporeal.
Maimonides also writes, that those who claimed that he believed the
verses of the Hebrew
Bible referring to the resurrection were only
allegorical, were spreading falsehoods and "revolting" statements.
Maimonides asserts that belief in resurrection is a fundamental truth
Judaism about which there is no disagreement, and that it is not
permissible for a Jew to support anyone who believes differently. He
cites Daniel 12:2 and 12:13 as definitive proofs of physical
resurrection of the dead when they state "many of them that sleep in
the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to reproaches
and everlasting abhorrence" and "But you, go your way till the end;
for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of
While these two positions may be seen as in contradiction
(non-corporeal eternal life, versus a bodily resurrection), Maimonides
resolves them with a then unique solution:
Maimonides believed that
the resurrection was not permanent or general. In his view, God never
violates the laws of nature. Rather, divine interaction is by way of
Maimonides often regards to be metaphors for the laws of
nature, the principles by which the physical universe operates, or
Platonic eternal forms. [This is not always the case. In Hilchot
Torah Chaps. 2–4,
Maimonides describes angels that are
actually created beings.] Thus, if a unique event actually occurs,
even if it is perceived as a miracle, it is not a violation of the
In this view, any dead who are resurrected must eventually die again.
In his discussion of the 13 principles of faith, the first five deal
with knowledge of God, the next four deal with prophecy and the Torah,
while the last four deal with reward, punishment and the ultimate
redemption. In this discussion
Maimonides says nothing of a universal
resurrection. All he says it is that whatever resurrection does take
place, it will occur at an indeterminate time before the world to
come, which he repeatedly states will be purely spiritual.
He writes "It appears to us on the basis of these verses (Daniel
12:2,13) that those people who will return to those bodies will eat,
drink, copulate, beget, and die after a very long life, like the lives
of those who will live in the Days of the Messiah."
disassociated the resurrection of the dead from both the World to Come
and the Messianic era.
In his time, many
Jews believed that the physical resurrection was
identical to the world to come; thus denial of a permanent and
universal resurrection was considered tantamount to denying the words
of the Talmudic sages. However, instead of denying the resurrection,
or maintaining the current dogma,
Maimonides posited a third way: That
resurrection had nothing to do with the messianic era (here in this
world) or with Olam Haba (עולם הבא) (the purely spiritual
afterlife). Rather, he considered resurrection to be a miracle that
the book of Daniel predicted; thus at some point in time we could
expect some instances of resurrection to occur temporarily, which
would have no place in the final eternal life of the righteous.
Perhaps one of Maimonides's most highly acclaimed and renowned
writings is his treatise on the Messianic era, written originally in
Judeo-Arabic and which he elaborates on in great detail in his
Commentary on the
Mishnah (Introduction to the 10th chapter of
tractate Sanhedrin, also known as Pereḳ Ḥeleḳ).
Maimonides on the Messianic Era
Pereḳ Ḥeleḳ (Chapter 10)
"… 'The days of the Messiah' (i.e., the Messianic Era) is a
timeframe in which the kingdom shall return to Israel, and they (i.e.,
the people of Israel) will return to the Land of Israel, and the king
who shall stand-up will establish the place of his kingdom in Zion,
whose name shall be extolled and it will reach unto the ends of the
earth, being [even] greater than Solomon's kingdom, and the nations
will enter a covenant of peace with him, and all lands shall serve him
on account of the abundance of his righteousness, and for the wondrous
things that shall be revealed through him; whosoever shall rise-up
against him, the Lord will cut him off and deliver him into his hands.
All of the Scriptural verses bear witness of him, and of us with him,
but there is nothing which exists now that will change, excepting that
the kingdom will be given over to Israel; thus have we heard it in the
language used by the Sages: 'There is no difference between this world
and the days of the Messiah, excepting only the subjugation of
kingdoms' (San. 91b). There shall remain in his days, both, the strong
and the weak, in comparison to others, only that in those days the
people's livelihood will be made much easier for them, insofar that if
a man should work any work no matter how short-lived, he will gain
much thereby. This is that which they have spoken about, saying: 'In
the future, the
Land of Israel
Land of Israel shall produce sweet-rolls of bread and
clothes made of white woollen fabric' (Shab. 30b), seeing that people
will say whenever a man finds something ready [and prepared for use]
in abundance that so-and-so has found baked bread and a cooked dish,
the proof of which being what is written: 'And the sons of the
stranger shall be your field workers and vine dressers' (Isa. 61:5).
Meaning, a time of ploughing and a time of reaping will be there;
Wherefore, it was for this reason that that erudite man who said these
things[a] was angered at his disciple when he failed to understand
their import and had thought rather that these things should be
understood in their plain sense, and he was compelled to answer him in
a way that he'd understand, even though that wasn't the proper
response [to give him]. The evidence for this, viz., that he didn't
give him a truthful answer in accordance with what he learned of the
verse, is this: 'Don't answer a foolish man in accordance with his
folly' (Proverbs 26:4).
Now the greatest advantage at that time will be that we'll have rest
from the subjugation of the wicked kingdom, which prevents us from
performing that which God has enjoined unto us to do, while knowledge
will be vastly increased, as it says: 'For the earth shall be filled
with the knowledge of the Lo-rd' (Isa. 11:9). Meanwhile, battles and
wars will come to an end, as it says: 'Nation shall not lift up a
sword against nation' (Micha 4:3), while all those who will be in
those days will attain to great perfection, by which he will merit the
world to come. The Messiah will then die [as all men], and his son,
and his son's son will rule after him. Now God has already described
his death; he says: 'He shall not tire nor be weary, till he establish
judgment in the earth: and the isles shall hope for his law' (Isa.
42:4). His kingdom shall continue for a very long time, while the
lives of men will also be prolonged; for by the absence of worries and
troubles they shall prolong their lives. Neither should it seem
strange that his kingdom will continue for thousands of years,
inasmuch as the Sages have already said that no matter how noble the
things that are collected together, when they are but few that are
amassed together, they will fall apart. Nevertheless, we do not desire
the days of the Messiah so that our grain and possessions might
increase, or so that we can mount horses, or be engaged in revelry of
drink and musical instruments, as those who are confused may think.
Rather, the prophets fervently desired them and the pious men longed
for them because of what shall be there of the ingathering of
righteous men, and of proper conduct, and wisdom, and the uprightness
of the king and his great wisdom and his drawing nigh unto the
Creator, just as it was said of him: 'Thou art my son, [etc.]' (Psalm
2:7), as well as the observance of the entire Law of Moses, without
worries and without fear, and without constraint, just as He has
promised 'And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and
every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD. For they shall all know
me, from the least of them to the greatest of them' (Jer. 31:33 );
'and I shall put my Law in their heart,' 'and I shall remove the heart
of stone from your flesh' (Ezek. 36:26), and there are many similar
verses that speak of such matters. It is in this manner [that a man]
will acquire the next world with a firm acquisition, while the desired
end [of every man] is the world to come, and all that comes before it
is [merely] human effort.
Wherefore, he that can perceive the truth has looked at the ultimate
purpose of life and has forsaken all other things, whereby He says:
Israel has a portion in the world to come.' Moreover, seeing
that this is the desired end and purpose of one's life, it is not
fitting that he who wishes to serve [his Maker] out of love should
serve Him for the sole intent of attaining the next world, as we have
premised earlier, but rather that he may serve Him in the manner that
I shall prescribe, viz., that if he has already come to believe that
knowledge has been imparted unto the prophets from God, and that by it
(i.e., that knowledge) He has revealed to them that the [coveted]
virtues are such and such, and the faults are such and such, it
behooves him, therefore, by reason of his being a moderate man of
reason, to draw near to the virtues and to shun that which is
deficient. If he has done this, Lo! He would have completed the mortal
chapter [related to his existence], and he is then distinguished from
the [brute] beasts; and since he would have become a [more] perfect
man, one of the virtues of man is that no hindrance be found that will
hinder him from attaining life for his soul in what is his remaining
[spiritual] existence through her (i.e., the soul's) [continued]
consciousness,[b] and which is the world to come as we have
explained.[c] Moreover, it is that which is said: 'Be ye not like a
horse, [or] like a mule, which has no understanding; [who must be held
back by bit and bridle]' (Psalm 32:9), meaning, the thing that
prevents them from idleness and uncontrollable conduct is an external
thing like a bit and a bridle. May a man never be like this, but
rather, let his soul be what stops him from acting in such a manner,
that is to say, his [inner] human form[d] [given to man by God at the
hour of Creation] – if it were perfected, it will prevent him from
whatever thing that withholds from him perfection (i.e., the
betterment of his condition), which things are called deficiencies,
but it will spurn him on in whatever is considered wholesome, which
things are the virtues. This then is what has become clear unto me
from all of their words relating to this noble matter, but things that
can be easily misconstrued."[e]
^ Rabban Gamliel; see: Babylonian Talmud,
Judeo-Arabic word used by
Maimonides is מעלומהא, or "that
which is known by her (i.e., by the soul)," meaning, the ens
intelligibile. Some translate this word as "perceived intellect."
^ See: Mishne
Torah (Hil. Teshuvah, chapter 8), for more on what is
meant by "the world to come."
^ See: Mishne
Torah (Hil. Yesodei Ha
Torah 4:8) for a discussion on
the soul. Elsewhere, in Hil. Teshuvah 8:3,
Maimonides writes: "Every
'soul' that is mentioned here in this context isn't the [animated]
spirit that stands in need of a body, but rather the 'form of the
soul,' which is the knowledge [attained by the mind] with which one
comprehends the Creator according to its ability." See also the Guide
for the Perplexed, part iii, the last chapter, on the fourth kind of
^ This last addition, "but things that can be easily misconstrued," is
written in Maimonides's original
Judeo-Arabic text, but was omitted in
the translated printed texts.
Yosef Qafih points out the
omission, and inserts it in his new translation. See: Mishnah, with
Maimonides (ed. Yosef Qafih), vol. 2, Rav Kook
Jerusalem 1963 (Hebrew)
The Oath of Maimonides
Oath of Maimonides is a document about the medical calling and
recited as a substitute for the Oath of Hippocrates. The Oath is not
to be confused with a more lengthy Prayer of Maimonides. These
documents may not have been written by Maimonides, but later. The
Prayer appeared first in print in 1793 and has been attributed to
Marcus Herz, a German physician, pupil of Immanuel Kant.
Maimonides and the Modernists
Maimonides remains one of the most widely debated Jewish thinkers
among modern scholars. He has been adopted as a symbol and an
intellectual hero by almost all major movements in modern Judaism, and
has proven immensely important to philosophers such as Leo Strauss;
and his views on the importance of humility have been taken up by
modern humanist philosophers, including Peter Singer.
In academia, particularly within the area of Jewish Studies, the
Maimonides has been dominated by traditional scholars,
generally Orthodox, who place a very strong emphasis on
a rationalist; one result is that certain sides of Maimonides's
thought, including his opposition to anthropocentrism, have been
obviated. There are movements in some postmodern
circles to claim
Maimonides for other purposes, as within the
discourse of ecotheology. Maimonides's reconciliation of the
philosophical and the traditional has given his legacy an extremely
diverse and dynamic quality.
Tributes and memorials
Maimonides at Rambam Medical Center, Haifa
Manuscript page by Maimonides. Judeo-
Arabic language in Hebrew
Maimonides has been memorialized in numerous ways. For example, one of
the Learning Communities at the Tufts University School of Medicine
bears his name. There is also
Maimonides School in Brookline,
Maimonides Academy School in Los Angeles, California,
Maimonides Academy in Hollywood, Florida, and
Maimonides Medical Center
Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York. In 2004, conferences
were held at Yale, Florida International University, Penn State, and
the Rambam hospital in Haifa, Israel, which is named after him. To
commemorate the 800th anniversary of his death, Harvard University
issued a memorial volume. In 1953, the
Israel Postal Authority
issued a postage stamp of Maimonides, pictured. In March 2008, during
the Euromed Conference of Ministers of Tourism, The Tourism Ministries
Spain agreed to work together on a joint
project that will trace the footsteps of the Rambam and thus boost
religious tourism in the cities of Córdoba, Fes and Tiberias.
Works and bibliography
Judaic and philosophical works
Maimonides composed works of Jewish scholarship, rabbinic law,
philosophy, and medical texts. Most of Maimonides's works were written
in Judeo-Arabic. However, the Mishneh
Torah was written in Hebrew. His
Jewish texts were:
Commentary on the Mishna (Hebrew Pirush Hamishnayot,
al-Siraj), written in Judeo-Arabic. This was the first full commentary
ever written on the entire Mishnah, and it enjoyed great popularity
both in its
Arabic original and its medieval Hebrew translation. The
commentary includes three philosophical introductions which were also
The Introduction to the
Mishnah deals with the nature of the oral law,
the distinction between the prophet and the sage, and the
organizational structure of the Mishnah.
The Introduction to
Mishnah Sanhedrin, chapter ten (Perek Helek), is
an eschatological essay that concludes with Maimonides's famous creed
("the thirteen principles of faith").
The Introduction to Tractate Avot (popularly called The Eight
Chapters) is an ethical treatise.
Sefer Hamitzvot (trans. The Book of Commandments). In this work,
Maimonides lists all the 613 mitzvot traditionally contained in the
Torah (Pentateuch). He describes fourteen shorashim (roots or
principles) to guide his selection.
Sefer Ha'shamad (letter of Martydom)
Mishneh Torah, also known as Sefer Yad ha-Chazaka, a comprehensive
code of Jewish law;
Guide for the Perplexed, a philosophical work harmonising and
differentiating Aristotle's philosophy and Jewish theology. Written in
Judeo-Arabic, and completed between 1186 and 1190. The first
translation of this work into Hebrew was done by
Samuel ibn Tibbon in
Teshuvot, collected correspondence and responsa, including a number of
public letters (on resurrection and the afterlife, on conversion to
other faiths, and Iggereth Teiman – addressed to the oppressed Jewry
Hilkhot ha-Yerushalmi, a fragment of a commentary on the Jerusalem
Talmud, identified and published by
Saul Lieberman in 1947.
Maimonides wrote ten known medical works in
Arabic that have been
translated by the Jewish medical ethicist
Fred Rosner into
The Art of Cure – Extracts from
Galen (Barzel, 1992, Vol. 5) is
essentially an extract of Galen's extensive writings.
Commentary on the Aphorisms of Hippocrates (Rosner, 1987, Vol. 2;
Hebrew: פירוש לפרקי אבוקראט) is interspersed with
his own views.
Medical Aphorisms of
Moses (Rosner, 1989, Vol. 3) titled Fusul
Arabic ("Chapters of Moses," Hebrew: פרקי משה)
contains 1500 aphorisms and many medical conditions are described.
Treatise on Hemorrhoids (in Rosner, 1984, Vol. 1; Hebrew:
ברפואת הטחורים) discusses also digestion and food.
Treatise on Cohabitation (in Rosner, 1984, Vol. 1) contains recipes as
aphrodisiacs and anti-aphrodisiacs.
Asthma (Rosner, 1994, Vol. 6) discusses climates and
diets and their effect on asthma and emphasizes the need for clean
Treatise on Poisons and Their Antidotes (in Rosner, 1984, Vol. 1) is
an early toxicology textbook that remained popular for centuries.
Regimen of Health (in Rosner, 1990, Vol. 4; Hebrew: הנהגת
הבריאות) is a discourse on healthy living and the mind-body
Discourse on the Explanation of Fits advocates healthy living and the
avoidance of overabundance.
Glossary of Drug Names (Rosner, 1992, Vol. 7) represents a
pharmacopeia with 405 paragraphs with the names of drugs in Arabic,
Greek, Syrian, Persian, Berber, and Spanish.
Treatise on logic
The Treatise on Logic (Arabic: Maqala Fi-Sinat Al-Mantiq) has been
printed 17 times, including editions in
Latin (1527), German (1805,
1822, 1833, 1828), French (1935), and English (1938), and in an
abridged Hebrew form. The work illustrates the essentials of
Aristotelian logic to be found in the teachings of the great Arabic
philosophers such as
Avicenna and, above all, Al-Farabi, "the Second
Master," the "First Master" being Aristotle. In his work devoted to
Rémi Brague stresses the fact that
Al-Farabi is the
only philosopher mentioned therein. This indicates a line of conduct
for the reader, who must read the text keeping in mind Al-Farabi's
works on logic. In the Hebrew versions, the Treatise is called The
words of Logic which describes the bulk of the work. The author
explains the technical meaning of the words used by logicians. The
Treatise duly inventories the terms used by the logician and indicates
what they refer to. The work proceeds rationally through a lexicon of
philosophical terms to a summary of higher philosophical topics, in 14
chapters corresponding to Maimonides's birthdate of 14 Nissan. The
number 14 recurs in many of Maimonides's works. Each chapter offers a
cluster of associated notions. The meaning of the words is explained
and illustrated with examples. At the end of each chapter, the author
carefully draws up the list of words studied.
Until very recently, it was accepted that
Maimonides wrote the
Treatise on logic in his twenties or even in his teen years.
Herbert Davidson has raised questions about Maimonides's authorship of
this short work (and of other short works traditionally attributed to
Maimonides). He maintains that
Maimonides was not the author at all,
based on a report of two Arabic-language manuscripts, unavailable to
Western investigators in Asia Minor.
Rabbi Yosef Kafih maintained
that it is by
Maimonides and newly translated it to Hebrew (as Beiur
M'lekhet HaHiggayon) from the Judeo-Arabic.
Iggeret Teman (Epistle to Yemen)
Golden age of
Jewish culture in Spain
Maimonides – Jewish philosopher, scholar, and
^ "Hebrew Date Converter – 14th of Nisan, 4895 – Hebcal Jewish
^ "Hebrew Calendar".
^ "Hebrew Date Converter – 14th of Nisan, 4898 – Hebcal Jewish
^ Goldin, Hyman E. Kitzur
Shulchan Aruch – Code of Jewish Law,
Forward to the New Edition. (New York: Hebrew Publishing Company,
Maimonides Islamic Influences". Plato. Stanford.
^ "Isaac Newton: "Judaic monotheist of the school of Maimonides"".
Achgut.com. 2007-06-19. Retrieved 2010-03-13.
^ "Maimonides". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.
^ Maimonides: Abū ʿImrān Mūsā [Moses] ibn ʿUbayd Allāh
[Maymūn] al‐Qurṭubī www.islamsci.mcgill.ca
^ A Biographical and Historiographical Critique of
Archived May 24, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
^ S. R. Simon (1999). "
Moses Maimonides: medieval physician and
scholar". Arch Intern Med. 159 (16): 1841–5.
doi:10.1001/archinte.159.16.1841. PMID 10493314.
^ Athar Yawar Email Address (2008). "Maimonides's medicine". The
Lancet. 371 (9615): 804. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(08)60365-7.
^ Davidson, pp. 6–9, 18. If the traditional birth date of 14 Nisan
is not correct, then a date in 1136 or 1137 is also possible.
^ Joel E. Kramer, "
Moses Maimonides: An Intellectual Portrait," p. 47
note 1. In Kenneth Seeskin, ed. (September 2005). The Cambridge
Companion to Maimonides. ISBN 9780521525787.
^ 1138 in Stroumsa,
Maimonides in His World: Portrait of a
Mediterranean Thinker, Princeton University Press, 2009, p. 8
^ Sherwin B. Nuland (2008), Maimonides, Random House LLC, p. 38
Maimonides biography – Jewish philosopher, scholar, and
physician". Retrieved 2015-06-04.
^ Gedaliah ibn Yahya ben Joseph, Shalshelet Ha-
1962, p. ק; but in PDF p. 109 (Hebrew)
^ Abraham Zacuto, Sefer Yuchasin,
Cracow 1580 (Hebrew), p. 261 in PDF,
which reads: "… I saw in a booklet that the Ark of God, even Rabbi
Moses b. Maimon, of blessed memory, had been taken up (i.e. euphemism
for "had died"), in the year ,965 anno mundi (= 1204/5 CE) in
Egypt, and the
Jews wept for him – as did [all] the Egyptians –
three days, and they coined a name for that time of year, [saying],
'there was wailing,' and on the seventh day [of his passing], the news
reached Alexandria, and on the eighth day, [the news reached]
Jerusalem, and in
Jerusalem they made a great public mourning [on his
behalf] and called for a fast and public gathering, where it was that
the prayer precentor read out the admonitions, 'If you shall walk in
my statutes [etc.]' (Leviticus 26:3-ff.), as well as read the
concluding verse [from the Prophets], 'And it came to pass that Samuel
spoke to all of
Israel [etc.],' and he then concluded by saying that
the Ark of God had been taken away. Now after certain days they
brought up his coffin to the Land of Israel, during which journey
thieves encountered them, causing those who had gone up to flee,
leaving there the coffin. Now the thieves, when they saw that they had
all fled, they desired to have the coffin cast into the sea, but were
unable with all their strength to uproot the coffin from the ground,
even though they had been more than thirty men, and when they
considered the matter, they then said to themselves that he was a
godly and holy man, and so they went their way. However, they gave
assurances to the
Jews that they would escort them to their
destination, and so it was that they also accompanied him and he was
buried in Tiberias."
Maimonides in His World: Portrait of a Mediterranean
Thinker, Princeton University Press, 2009, p.65
Maimonides in His World, pp.66–67
^ Abraham Heschel,
Maimonides (New York: Farrar Strauss, 1982),
Chapter 15, "Meditation on God," pp. 157–162.
^ a b 1954 Encyclopedia Americana, vol. 18, p. 140.
^ a b A.K. Bennison; M.A. Gallego García (2008). "Jewish Trading in
Fez on the Eve of the Almohad Conquest" (PDF).
^ Y. K. Stillman, ed. (1984). "Libās". Encyclopaedia of Islam. 5 (2nd
ed.). Brill Academic Publishers. p. 744.
^ "Jewish Virtual Library". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved
^ Stroumsa (2009),
Maimonides in His World, p.59
^ Seder HaDoros (year 4927) quotes
Maimonides as saying that he began
writing his commentary on the Mishna when he was 23 years old, and
published it when he was 30. Because of the dispute about the date of
Maimonides's birth, it is not clear which year the work was published.
^ Davidson, p. 29.
^ a b Goitein, S.D. Letters of Medieval Jewish Traders, Princeton
University Press, 1973 (ISBN 0-691-05212-3), p. 208
^ Magazine, rambam_temple_mount, Jewish. "No Jew had been permitted to
enter the holy city which has become a
Christian bastion since the
Crusaders conquered it in 1096". www.jewishmag.com. Retrieved
^ Cohen, Mark R. Poverty and Charity in the Jewish Community of
Medieval Egypt. Princeton University Press, 2005
(ISBN 0-691-09272-9), pp. 115–116
^ The "India Trade" (a term devised by the Arabist S.D. Goitein) was a
highly lucrative business venture in which Jewish merchants from
Egypt, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East imported and exported
goods ranging from pepper to brass from various ports along the
Malabar Coast between the 11th–13th centuries. For more info, see
the "India Traders" chapter in Goitein, Letters of Medieval Jewish
Traders, 1973 or Goitein, India Traders of the Middle Ages, 2008.
^ Goitein, Letters of Medieval Jewish Traders, p. 207
^ Cohen, Poverty and Charity in the Jewish Community of Medieval
Egypt, p. 115
^ a b c Julia Bess Frank (1981). "
Moses Maimonides: rabbi or
Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine. 54 (1): 79–88.
PMC 2595894 . PMID 7018097.
^ a b c
Fred Rosner (2002). "The Life of
Moses Maimonides, a Prominent
Medieval Physician" (PDF). Einstein Quart J Biol Med. 19 (3):
^ Gesundheit B, Or R, Gamliel C, Rosner F, Steinberg A (April 2008).
"Treatment of depression by
Maimonides (1138–1204): Rabbi,
Physician, and Philosopher" (PDF). Am J Psychiatry. 165 (4):
425–428. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2007.07101575. PMID 18381913.
Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-03-05.
^ Abraham Heschel,
Maimonides (New York: Farrar Strauss, 1982),
Chapter 15, "Meditation on God," pp. 157–162, and also pp.
178–180, 184–185, 204, etc. Isadore Twersky, editor, A Maimonides
Reader (New York: Behrman House, 1972), commences his "Introduction"
with the following remarks, p. 1: "Maimonides's biography immediately
suggests a profound paradox. A philosopher by temperament and
ideology, a zealous devotee of the contemplative life who eloquently
portrayed and yearned for the serenity of solitude and the spiritual
exuberance of meditation, he nevertheless led a relentlessly active
life that regularly brought him to the brink of exhaustion."
Responsa Pe’er HaDor, 143.
^ Such views of his works are found in almost all scholarly studies of
the man and his significance. See, for example, the "Introduction"
sub-chapter by Howard Kreisel to his overview article "Moses
Maimonides," in History of Jewish Philosophy, edited by Daniel H.
Frank and Oliver Leaman, Second Edition (New York and London:
Routledge, 2003), pp. 245–246.
^ Click to see full English translation of Maimonides's "Epistle to
^ The comment on the effect of his "incessant travail" on his health
is by Salo Baron, "
Moses Maimonides," in Great Jewish Personalities in
Ancient and Medieval Time, edited by Simon Noveck (B'nai B'rith
Department of Adult Jewish Education, 1959), p. 227, where Baron also
quotes from Maimonides's letter to Ibn Tibbon regarding his daily
^ The Life of
Maimonides jnul.huji.ac.il Archived 2010-11-20 at the
Wayback Machine., Jewish National and University Library
^ hsje.org Amiram Barkat, "The End of the Exodus from Egypt" Archived
2011-07-17 at the Wayback Machine., Haaretz (Israel), 21 April 2005
^ אגרות הרמב"ם מהדורת שילת
^ Sarah E. Karesh; Mitchell M. Hurvitz (2005). Encyclopedia of
Judaism. Facts on File. p. 305.
^ H. J. Zimmels (1997). Ashkenazim and Sephardim: Their Relations,
Differences, and Problems as Reflected in the Rabbinical Responsa
(Revised ed.). Ktav Publishing House. p. 283.
^ Isidore Twersky, Introduction to the Code of
Yale Judaica Series, vol. XII (New Haven and London: Yale
University Press, 1980). passim, and especially Chapter VII,
"Epilogue," pp. 515–538.
^ This is covered in all histories of the Jews. E.g., including such a
brief overview as Cecil Roth, A History of the Jews, Revised Edition
(New York: Schocken, 1970), pp. 175–179.
^ D.J. Silver, Maimonidean Criticism and the Maimonidean Controversy,
1180–1240 (Leiden: Brill, 1965), is still the most detailed account.
^ David Hartman, Maimonides:
Torah and Philosophic Quest
(Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1976), p. 98.
^ On the extensive philosophical aspects of Maimonides's halakhic
works, see in particular Isidore Twersky's Introduction to the Code of
Maimonides (Mishneh Torah),
Yale Judaica Series, vol. XII (New Haven
Yale University Press, 1980). Twersky devotes a major
portion of this authoritative study to the philosophical aspects of
^ The Maimunist or Maimonidean controversy is covered in all histories
Jewish philosophy and general histories of the Jews. For an
overview, with bibliographic references, see Idit Dobbs-Weinstein,
"The Maimonidean Controversy," in History of Jewish Philosophy, Second
Edition, edited by Daniel H. Frank and Oliver Leaman (London and New
York: Routledge, 2003), pp. 331–349. Also see Colette Sirat, A
History of Jewish
Philosophy in the
Middle Ages (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1985), pp. 205–272.
^ Mercedes Rubio (2006). Aquinas and
Maimonides on the possibility of
the knowledge of god. Springer-Verlag. doi:10.1007/1-4020-4747-9_2.
^ Vivian McAlister, Maimonides's cooling period and organ retrieval
Canadian Journal of Surgery 2004; 47: 8 – 9)
^ "The Thirteen Principles of Jewish Faith". www.chabad.org.
^ See, for example: Marc B. Shapiro. The Limits of Orthodox Theology:
Maimonides' Thirteen Principles Reappraised. Littman Library of Jewish
Civilization (2011). pp. 1–14.
^ Siegelbaum, Chana Bracha (2010) Women at the crossroads : a
woman's perspective on the weekly
Torah portion Gush Etzion: Midreshet
B'erot Bat Ayin. ISBN 9781936068098 page 199
^ Last section of Maimonides's Introduction to Mishneh Torah
^ "Avkat Rochel ch. 32".
Moses Maimonides, The Commandments, Neg. Comm. 290, at 269–71
(Charles B. Chavel trans., 1967).
^ Leslie, Donald. The Survival of the Chinese Jews; The Jewish
Community of Kaifeng. Tʻoung pao, 10. Leiden: Brill, 1972, p. 157
^ Pollak, Michael. Mandarins, Jews, and Missionaries: The Jewish
Experience in the Chinese Empire. The Jewish Publication Society of
America, 1980, p. 413
^ Pollak, Mandarins, Jews, and Missionaries, pp. 297–298
^ "Hebrew Source of Maimonides's Levels of Giving with Danny Siegel's
translation" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-09-19.
^ a b "The Guide to the Perplexed". World Digital Library. Retrieved
22 January 2013.
Maimonides (2007). The Guide to the Perplexed. BN
^ Joseph Jacobs. "
Moses Ben Maimon". Jewish Encyclopedia. Retrieved
^ Shlomo Pines (2006). "
Maimonides (1135–1204)". Encyclopedia of
Philosophy. 5: 647–654.
Isadore Twersky (2005). "Maimonides, Moses". Encyclopedia of
Religion. 8: 5613–5618.
^ Joel E. Kramer, "
Moses Maimonides: An Intellectual Portrait," p. 45.
In Kenneth Seeskin, ed. (September 2005). The Cambridge Companion to
Maimonides. ISBN 9780521525787.
^ Rudavsky, T. (March 2010). Maimonidies. Singapore: Wiley-Blackwell.
p. 10. ISBN 978-1-4051-4898-6.
^ "Guide for the Perplexed, on". Sacred-texts.com. Retrieved
^ See: Maimonides's Ma'amar Teḥayyath Hamethim (Treatise on the
Resurrection of the Dead), published in Book of Letters and Responsa
(ספר אגרות ותשובות),
Jerusalem 1978, p. 9 (Hebrew).
According to Maimonides, certain
Jews in Yemen had sent to him a
letter in the year 1189, evidently irritated as to why he had not
mentioned the physical resurrection of the dead in his Hil. Teshuvah,
chapter 8, and how that some persons in Yemen had begun to instruct,
based on Maimonides's teaching, that when the body dies it will
disintegrate and the soul will never return to such bodies after
Maimonides denied that he ever insinuated such things, and
reiterated that the body would indeed resurrect, but that the "world
to come" was something different in nature.
^ Commentary on the Mishna, Avot 5:6
^ "Oath and Prayer of Maimonides". Library.dal.ca. Archived from the
original on 2008-06-29. Retrieved 2010-03-13.
Maimonides – His Thought Related to Ecology in The Encyclopedia
Religion and Nature".
^ David MOrris. "Major Grant Awarded to Maimonides". Florida Jewish
Journal. Archived from the original on July 30, 2007. Retrieved
Harvard University Press:
Maimonides after 800 Years : Essays
Maimonides and his Influence by Jay M. Harris". Hup.harvard.edu.
^ Shelly Paz (8 May 2008) Tourism Ministry plans joint project with
Morocco, Spain. The
^ Kehot Publication Society, Chabad.org.
^ Volume 5 translated by Barzel (foreword by Rosner).
^ Title page, TOC.
^ "כתבים רפואיים – ג (פירוש לפרקי
אבוקראט) / משה בן מימון (רמב"ם) / ת"ש-תש"ב
– אוצר החכמה".
^ Maimonides. Medical Aphorisms (Treatises 1–5 6–9 10–15 16–21
22–25), Brigham Young University, Provo – Utah
^ "כתבים רפואיים – ב (פרקי משה ברפואה) /
משה בן מימון (רמב"ם) / ת"ש-תש"ב – אוצר
^ "כתבים רפואיים – ד (ברפואת הטחורים) /
משה בן מימון (רמב"ם) / ת"ש-תש"ב – אוצר
^ Title page, TOC.
^ "כתבים רפואיים – א (הנהגת הבריאות) /
משה בן מימון (רמב"ם) / ת"ש-תש"ב – אוצר
^ Title page, TOC.
^ Abraham Heschel, Maimonides. New York: Farrar Strauss, 1982 p. 22
^ Davidson, pp. 313 ff.
^ "באור מלאכת ההגיון / משה בן מימון
(רמב"ם) / תשנ"ז – אוצר החכמה".
This article incorporates text from a publication now in
the public domain: Joseph Jacobs, Isaac Broydé, The Executive
Committee of the Editorial Board, and Jacob Zallel Lauterbach
Moses Ben Maimon". In Singer, Isidore; et al. Jewish
Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company. CS1 maint:
Multiple names: authors list (link)
Uriel Barzel (1992). Maimonides's Medical Writings: The Art of Cure
Extracts. 5. Galen:
Maimonides Research Institute.
Davidson, Herbert A. (2005).
Moses Maimonides: The Man and his Works.
Oxford University Press.
Rabbi Yaakov (2008). Shemonah Perakim: The Eight Chapters of
Fox, Marvin (1990). Interpreting Maimonides. Univ. of Chicago
Julius Guttman (1964). David Silverman, ed. Philosophies of Judaism.
Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America.
Moshe Halbertal (2013). Maimonides: Life and Thought. Princeton
University Press. * David Hartman (1976). Maimonides:
Philosophic Quest. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of
Abraham Joshua Heschel
Abraham Joshua Heschel (1982). Maimonides: The Life and Times of a
Medieval Jewish Thinker. New York: Farrar Strauss.
Isaac Husik (2002) . A History of Jewish Philosophy. Dover
Publications, Inc. Originally published by the Jewish
Publication of America, Philadelphia.
Aryeh Kaplan (1994). "
Maimonides Principles: The Fundamentals of
Jewish Faith". The
Aryeh Kaplan Anthology. Mesorah Publications, Ltd.
Leaman, Daniel H.; Leaman, Frank; Leaman, Oliver (2003). History of
Philosophy (Second ed.). London and New York: Routledge.
See especially chapters 10 through 15.
Kellner, Menachem (1986). Dogma in Medieval Jewish Thought. London:
Oxford University press.
Kohler, George Y. (2012). "Reading Maimonides's
Philosophy in 19th
Century Germany". Amsterdam Studies in Jewish Philosophy. Springer.
Kraemer, Joel L. (2008). Maimonides: The Life and World of One of
Civilization's Greatest Minds. Doubleday.
Fred Rosner (1984–1994). Maimonides's Medical Writings. 7 Vols.
Maimonides Research Institute. (Volume 5 translated by Uriel
Barzel; foreword by Fred Rosner.)
Seidenberg, David (2005). "
Maimonides – His Thought Related to
Ecology". The Encyclopedia of
Religion and Nature. Continuum
Shapiro, Marc B. (1993). "
Maimonides Thirteen Principles: The Last
Word in Jewish Theology?". The
Torah U-Maddah Journal. Yeshiva
Shapiro, Marc B. (2008). Studies in
Maimonides and His Interpreters.
Scranton (PA): University of Scranton Press.
Sirat, Colette (1985). A History of Jewish
Philosophy in the Middle
Ages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. See chapters 5
Leo Strauss (1988). Persecution and the Art of Writing. University of
Chicago Press. reprint
Strauss, Leo (1974). Shlomo Pines, ed. How to Begin to Study the
Guide: The Guide of the Perplexed –
Maimonides (in Arabic). 1.
University of Chicago Press.
Hart Green, Kenneth (2013).
Leo Strauss on Maimonides: The Complete
Writings. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Stroumsa, Sarah (2009).
Maimonides in His World: Portrait of a
Mediterranean Thinker. Princeton University Press.
Isadore Twersky (1980). "Introduction to the Code of Maimonides
Yale Judaica Series. New Haven and London: Yale
University Press. XII.
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Maimonides Reader. New York:
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(6–9, 10–15, 16–21, 22–25). Provo, Utah: Brigham Young
Gerrit Bos (2002). Maimonides. On
Asthma (vol.1, vol.2). Provo, Utah:
Brigham Young University
Brigham Young University Press.
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Maimonides by Dr. Henry Abramson
Maimonides entry in Jewish Encyclopedia
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Maimonides entry in the Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2nd edition
Seeskin, Kenneth. "Maimonides". In Zalta, Edward N. Stanford
Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Maimonides entry in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy"
Maimonides, a biography — book by David Yellin and
Maimonides as a Philosopher
The Influence of Islamic Thought on Maimonides
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Rambam and the Earth:
Maimonides as a Proto-Ecological
Thinker – reprint on neohasid.org from The Encyclopedia of
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Anti-Maimonidean Demons by Jose Faur, describing the controversy
surrounding Maimonides's works
David Yellin and
Maimonides (1903) (full text of a
Y. Tzvi Langermann (2007). "Maimonides: Abū ʿImrān Mūsā [Moses]
ibn ʿUbayd Allāh [Maymūn] al‐Qurṭubī". In Thomas Hockey; et
al. The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers. New York: Springer.
pp. 726–7. ISBN 978-0-387-31022-0. (PDF version)
Maimonides at intellectualencounters.org
Torah online, halakhic work of Maimonides
Sefer Hamitzvot, English translation
Oral Readings of Mishne
Torah — Free listening and Download, site
also had classes in Maimonides's Iggereth Teiman
Maimonides 13 Principles
Intellectual Encounters – Main Thinkers –
Moses Maimonides, in
Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Autograph Draft, Egypt, c. 1180
Maimonides, Commentary on the Mishnah, Autograph Manuscript, Egypt, c.
Texts by Maimonides
Siddur Mesorath Moshe, a prayerbook based on the early Jewish liturgy
as found in Maimonides's Mishne Tora
Rambam's introduction to the Mishneh
Torah (English translation)
Rambam's introduction to the Commentary on the
The Guide For the Perplexed by
Maimonides translated into
English by Michael Friedländer
Writings of Maimonides; manuscripts and early print editions. Jewish
National and University Library
Facsimile edition of Moreh Nevukhim/The Guide for the Perplexed
(illuminated Hebrew manuscript, Barcelona, 1347–48). The Royal
University of Cambridge Library collection of
Judeo-Arabic letters and
manuscripts written by or to Maimonides. It includes the last letter
his brother David sent him before drowning at sea.
A. Ashur, A newly discovered medical recipe written by Maimonides
M.A Friedman and A. Ashur, A newly-discovered autograph responsum of
Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen)
Abu Rayhan Biruni
"Brethren of Purity"
Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna)
Ibn Bajjah (Avempace)
Ayn al-Quzat Hamadani
Ibn Rushd (Averroes)
Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi
Fakhr ad-Din ar-Razi
Athīr al-Dīn al-Abharī
Nasir al-Din al-Tusi
Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi
Isaac Israeli ben Solomon
Solomon ibn Gabirol
Abraham ibn Daud
Augustine of Hippo
Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite
Isidore of Seville
Johannes Scotus Eriugena
Anselm of Canterbury
Anselm of Laon
Hugh of Saint Victor
Richard of Saint Victor
Alexander of Hales
Bernard of Chartres
Gilbert de la Porrée
Alain de Lille
Siger of Brabant
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Henry of Ghent
Petrus Peregrinus de Maricourt
Giles of Rome
Godfrey of Fontaines
William of Ockham
Albert of Saxony
Paul of Venice
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