Maimonides


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Maimonides

(mīmŏn`ĭdēz) or

Moses ben Maimon

(mī`mən), 1135–1204, Jewish scholar, physician, and philosopher, the most influential Jewish thinker of the Middle Ages, b. Córdoba, Spain, d. Cairo. He is sometimes called Rambam, from the initials of the words Rabbi Moses ben Maimon. His organization and systemization of the corpus of Jewish oral law, is called the Mishneh Torah [the Torah Reviewed], known in English as the Strong Hand, and is still used as a standard compilation of halakahhalakah
or halacha
[Heb.,=law], in Judaism, the body of law regulating all aspects of life, including religious ritual, familial and personal status, civil relations, criminal law, and relations with non-Jews.
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. He also produced a number of discourses on legal topics; a work on logic; a treatise on the calendar; and several medical books, including an important work on hygiene. His great philosophical work is the Moreh Nevukhim (1190, tr., Guide for the Perplexed, 1963), written in Arabic, in which he explained the esoteric ideas in the Bible, formulated a proof of the existence of God, expounded the principles of creation, and elucidated baffling metaphysical and religious problems. The Moreh Nevukhim, which reflects Maimonides's great knowledge of Aristotelian philosophy and attempts to reconcile it with the tenets of Jewish theology, dominated Jewish thought, helped introduce Aristotle to medieval Christian philosophers, and has exerted a profound influence upon Christian thinkers.

Bibliography

See biographies by S. Zeitlin (2d ed. 1955), A. J. Heschel (1981), and M. Halbertal (2013); studies by J. Melber (1968), M. Fox (1990), and S. B. Nuland (2005).

Maimonides

 

(Moses ben Maimon). Born Mar. 30, 1135, in Córdoba; died Dec. 13, 1204, in Fustat, near Cairo. Jewish philosopher of the Middle Ages.

In 1148, Maimonides left Spain because of the Almohad dynasty’s persecution of Jews; he lived in Morocco and Palestine, settling in Egypt in 1165. In 1187 he became a court physician to Sultan Saladin of Cairo. Maimonides’ chief philosophical work, Guide of the Perplexed, was published in Arabic in Egypt in 1190 and subsequently translated into Hebrew and Latin (a Russian translation is in S. N. Grigorian’s Iz istoriifilosofii Srednei Azii i Irana 7-12 vv., 1960).

Maimonides is the most outstanding representative of Jewish philosophy of the Middle Ages. He based his system on the teachings of Aristotle as interpreted by Arab thinkers. By synthesizing revelation and speculation, the Bible and Aristotle, Maimonides went beyond the limits of orthodoxy; his rationalism and “purification” of truth from miracle brought him the enmity of the adherents to religious tradition. He exerted an influence on the development of Scholasticism in the 13th-15th centuries, particularly influencing the medieval Aristotelians Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas.

REFERENCES

Istoriia filosofii, vol. 1. Moscow, 1940. Pages 454-57.
Moses ben Maimon: Sein Leben, seine Werke und sein Einfluss, vols. 1-2. Leipzig, 1908-14.
Bamberger, F. Das System des Maimonides. Berlin, 1935.
Sarachek, J. Faith and Reason: The Conflict Over the Rationalism of Maimonides. Williamsport, Pa., 1935.
Baeck, L. Maimonides. Diisseldorf, 1954.
Silver, D. J. Maimonidean Criticism and Maimonidean Controversy, 1180-1240. Leiden, 1965.
Zac, S. Maimonide. Paris, 1965.

S. S. AVERINTSEV

Maimonides

also called Rabbi Moses ben Maimon. 1135--1204, Jewish philosopher, physician, and jurist, born in Spain. He codified Jewish law in Mishneh Torah (1180)
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