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Maimonides (mīmŏnˈĭdēz) or Moses ben Maimon (mīˈmən), 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 halakah. 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.


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).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(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.


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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


also called Rabbi Moses ben Maimon. 1135--1204, Jewish philosopher, physician, and jurist, born in Spain. He codified Jewish law in Mishneh Torah (1180)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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Before turning to Maimonides's attitude towards female prophecy, a few words should be said about his attitude towards women in general.