Moses Maimonides: The Man and His Works

OUP USA (2005)
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.
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ISBN(s) 9780195173215   019517321X
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