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Moshe ben Maimon - the Maimonides

Mosheh ben Maimon משה בן מימון‎, called Moses Maimonides and also known as (Arabic: ابو عمران موسى بن ميمون بن عبد الله القرطبي, Abū ʿImrān Mūsā bin Maimūn bin ʿUbaidallāh al-Qurṭubī) or (Arabic: موسى ابن ميمون, Mūsā bin Maymūn) for short, or RaMBaM (רמב"ם – Hebrew acronym for "Rabbi Mosheh Ben Maimon"), was a preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher and one of the most prolific and followed Torah scholars and physicians of the Middle Ages. He was born in Córdoba, Almoravid Empire (present-day Spain) on Passover Eve, 1135, and died in Egypt (or Tiberias) on 20th Tevet, December 12, 1204.[1] He was a rabbi, physician and philosopher in Morocco and Egypt.


Born into a Jewish family of Al-Andalus (the Iberian Peninsula under Moors), Rambam had to flee at thirteen years, due to the expulsion of the Jews who had not converted to Islam radical Almohades who took Córdoba in 1148. For twelve years his family roamed the southern Iberian Peninsula to settle in Fez, Morocco.

Rambam studied Medicine and the traditional Jewish studies with his father, judge and scholar of Jewish legal case. He wrote some of his work during the five years that remained in Fez. After this period, went to Fostat (former capital of Egypt) in 1168.[2] His brother David, merchant, kept the family economically, and Maimon was devoted to studies. After the tragic sinking that killed his brother, he began to play medicine to support his family. It was then an important member of the local Jewish community.

Maimonides signature

In 1177 Maimonides was recognized as a leader, and among their occupations amounted to judge and administrator. He became a physician and adviser to the Vizier al-Fadil, whom Saladin left the office when he won the Egypt and his reputation gained international recognition. Jewish communities around the world wrote to him seeking his opinion about the Jewish law.

Maimonides wrote ten medical works in Arabic and several works of religious content, which reflects his philosophical outlook on Judaism. It is the encoder of the thirteen principles of Judaism. He died in 1204 in Fostat (or Cairo) and was buried in Tiberius in Israel. His popularity earned him the laudatory phrase that says: "From Moses (the lawgiver) to Moshe (ben Maimon) there is none like Moses."

Maimonides was the most important scholar of Judaism in the Middle Ages.[2] It is also considered the most illustrious figure in Judaism since the Talmudic era.[2] His work, particularly The Guide of the Perplexed, is a major attempt to establish a synthesis between Jewish tradition and Aristotelianism.[2] applying the Talmudic reasoning, he refuted some of the theories of Aristotle, demonstrating by experiments, their errors.[3]

The thirteen principles of Judaism of Maimonides

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:

  1. The existence of God
  2. God's unity
  3. God's spirituality and incorporeality
  4. God's eternity
  5. God alone should be the object of worship
  6. Revelation through God's prophets
  7. The preeminence of Moses among the prophets
  8. God's law given on Mount Sinai
  9. The immutability of the Torah as God's Law
  10. God's foreknowledge of human actions
  11. Reward of good and retribution of evil
  12. The coming of the Jewish Messiah
  13. The resurrection of the dead

Major Works

Maimonides published several works in various fields like medicine, philosophy and theology. Some of the best known are:

  • 1168 — Peirush Hamishnaiot or Sefer HaMahor. Published in Arabic under the title Sirah (Light), which aims to provide a systematic way to the Mishnah and offer an introduction to the study of the Talmud.
  • 1170 until 1180 — Mishneh Torah (Repetition of the Law) or Yad Hazaká (Strong hand) — composed of 14 books containing 982 chapters and thousands of laws. It is an organization and a clearance of the Talmud, with classification, reasoning, categorization and simplification.
  • 1190 — Moreh Nevukhim (Guide of the Perplexed) — work of Aristotelian philosophy founded in the Torah. This book reconciles Judaism with the use of reason. As many Jews, enthusiastic about the Arab-Aristotelian philosophy, despised biblical knowledge, Maimonides created this work as a theological, moral and metaphysical principle.
  • 12th century — Shemonah Perakim (The Eight Chapters).[4]
  • 12th century — Sefer Hamitzvot (The Book of Commandments).[5]

See also


  1. Davidson 2005, pp. 7–9, 18. If the traditional birth date of 14 Nisan is not correct, then a date in 1136 is also possible. Location of his death is possibly Tiberias, where his son and his tomb are set. There are several indications to the originality of the location, and traditions about the occasion of his death in Tiberias.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Barnavi, Eli, ed. (1992). A Historical Atlas of the Jewish People:From the Time of the Patriarchs to the Present. New York: Schocken Books. p. 97;102. ISBN 0-8052-4127-2. 
  3. Gilbert, Martin, ed. (1990). The Ilustrated Atlas of the Jewish Civilization. New York: MacMillan. p. 60-61. ISBN 0-02-543415-2. 
  4. Ben Maimon, Moshé (1992) (in Portuguese). Os Oito Capítulos [The Eight Chapters]. São Paulo: Maayanot. p. 89. ISBN 85-85512-02-4. 
  5. Ben Maimon, Moshé (author) Nahaïssi, Giuseppe (translator) (1990) (in Portuguese). Os 613 Mandamentos [The 613 Commandments] (2nd ed.). São Paulo: Nova Stella. p. 356. CDD 296.092.