Moses Maimonides

Moses Maimonides : The Man and His Works

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Moses Maimonides, rabbinist, philosopher, and physician, had a greater impact on Jewish history than any other medieval figure. Born in Cordova, Spain, in 1137 or 1138, he spent a few years in Morocco, visited Palestine, and settled in Egypt by 1167. He died there in 1204. Maimonides was a man of superlatives. He wrote the first commentary to cover the entire Mishna corpus; composed what quickly became the dominant work on the 613 commandments believed to have been given by God to Moses; produced the most comprehensive and most intensely studied code of rabbinic law to emerge from the Middle Ages; and his Guide for the Perplexed has had a greater influence on Jewish thought than any other Jewish philosophic work. During the last decades of his life, he conducted an active medical practice, which extended into the royal court-the Sultan Saladin is reported to have been his patient-and composed some ten or eleven works on medicine. This book offers a fresh look at every aspect of Maimonides' life and works: the course of his life, his education, his personality, and his rabbinic, philosophical, and medical writings. At a number of junctures, Davidson points out that information about Maimonides which has been accepted for decades or centuries as common knowledge is in actuality supported by no credible evidence and often, more disconcertingly, is patently incorrect. Maimonides' diverse writings are frequently viewed as expressions of several distinct personas, uncomfortably and awkwardly bundled into a single human frame; the present book treats his writings as expressions of a single, integrated, albeit complex, mind.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 592 pages
  • 162.6 x 236.2 x 40.6mm | 884.52g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 019517321X
  • 9780195173215
  • 2,022,798

About Herbert A. Davidson

Herbert A. Davidson is Professor of Hebrew, emeritus, at UCLA. He is the author of several books, including Proofs for Eternity, Creation, and the Existence of God in Medieval Islamic and Jewish Philosophy (OUP, 1987) and Alfarabi, Avicenna, and Averroes, on Intellect (OUP, 1992).show more

Review quote

Prof. Herbert A. Davidson is equally at home in the rabbinic tradition and in the history of philosophy - Greek, Arabic, Jewish, and Latin. This intimate acquaintance with Maimonides' two cultures allows him to offer a comprehensive and contextualized account of Maimonides' entire oeuvre... no one will be able to ignore the forceful argments of Davidson's prudent, balanced, and informed scholarship. * Aleph: Historical Studies in Science and Judaism *show more

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