Moses Maimonides (Greek Μαϊμονίδης; born 1135-1138 in Córdoba, died on December 13, 1204 in Cairo ) was a Jewish philosopher, lawyer and doctor. He is regarded as a major scholar of the Middle Ages and one of the foremost Jewish scholars of all time.

Moses Maimonides is the Hellenized form of the Hebrew name Moshe ben Maimon. He is also known as Rambam (Hebrew רמב"ם ). This is an acronym for Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon, רבי משה בן מיימון. Arabic His name is Abu ' Imran Musa ibn' Ubaidullah Maimun al - Kurdubi / أبو عمران موسى بن عبيد الله ميمون القرطبي / Abū ʿ Imraan Musa b. ʿ al - Qurtubi Ubaidullah MaiMun, or simply Musa bin Maimun, the Arabic equivalent of his Hebrew name.

His main works, the systematization of Jewish law Mishneh Torah and the religious-philosophical works Guide of the Perplexed, their radicalism were highly controversial because long time. In addition, Maimonides has left numerous other writings on religion, philosophy, medicine and astronomy.

  • 2.1 Primary texts 2.1.1 Guide for the Perplexed
  • 2.1.2 Mishneh Torah
  • 2.1.3 Other texts

Life and work

Maimonides was born 1135-1138. He came from one of the most distinguished families of Cordoba, whose house was one of the centers of the local intellectual life. Instruction in the Jewish teachings he received from his father, a rabbi and judge in Córdoba. In addition, Arabic teacher in Greco- Arabic philosophy and science taught him.

1148, after the invasion of the Almohads (from Arabic al - Muwahhidun, " adherents of the unity of God " ), representing an intolerant Islam and Berber and Jewish communities pursued, his family was given the choice to convert to Islam or emigrate. Maimonides ' family chose the latter: they fled, spent several years in Spain erratically and possibly also in the Provence and was probably in 1160 in the Moroccan Fez down. Maimonides nevertheless could educate yourself during this time and wrote in 1158 or 1159 an introduction to the basics of calendar calculation and in 1159 an introduction to Aristotelian logic.

Maimonides ' father and 1160 Maimonides himself intervened in the dispute over the assessment of Jews who confessed without inner conviction to Islam, with both directed against the rigorous condemnation.

1165 the family moved on to Jerusalem, then to Alexandria and finally to Fustat, now a part of Cairo, where Maimonides lived until his death.

The first years in Egypt, he was able to spend as a scholar without commitments, as his brother David made ​​a gem dealer between India and the Mediterranean countries for the family upkeep. After his brother had found in a shipwreck and death not only all of the assets of the family, but also entrusted capital of other traders had been lost, had to Maimonides, also in order to pay the debt, take up a gainful employment. To not be a rabbi financially dependent on a " license of exilarch " to have, he chose the profession of the doctor, in which he acquired so great a reputation that he was in 1185 physician to the secretary of Sultan Saladin, al - Fadil, practically Egyptian government was boss. A source also mentioned that Saladin and his eldest son, al - Afdal ʾ, were among the patients of Maimonides reported.

Since 1177, he was also head ( nagid ) of the Jewish community of Cairo. At the time he wrote to his Provençal translator Shmuel ibn Tibbon:

His first wife had died young, and in Egypt, he married a second time. His second wife was the sister of Ibn Almali, a royal secretary, who married even Maimonides ' only sister. The education of his only son Abraham Maimonides devoted much love and attention. Another consolation in this time in which he was engaged in detailed correspondence and writing his major works, was his enthusiastic pupil Joseph ibn Sham'un, whom he loved like a son, for him wrote the Guide of the Perplexed and it chapter by chapter sent.

As Maimonides died on December 13, 1204 public mourning was proclaimed in all the former Jewish communities, which lasted three days in Fustat. In Jerusalem, a public fast was prescribed, which was read on this occasion from the Bible verse 1 Sam 4,22 EU: " Fort is the glory of Israel, for the ark of God has been dragged away ." Maimonides was buried according to his wish in Tiberias, the grave can still be visited today.

Texts to the Jewish faith and law

During his stay in Cairo, he wrote and edited his key, long works much discussed:

In Kitaab al - Sirāj, written in Arabic and later translated into Hebrew by Ibn Tubbon, he commented on the Mishnah; its summarized in the introduction to Sanhedrin X, 1 13 Articles of Faith ( Iqqarim ) were included in many editions of the Jewish prayerbook later than Jigdal abridged and anthemic - poetisierter form.

1180 appeared Mishneh Torah ( " Repetition of the Law" ), a revision of the rabbinical interpretation of the law in 14 volumes, the Mishnah Torah and organized strictly logical. The work was, inter alia, Rabbi Abraham ben David of Posquières heavily criticized in part, what led also in the context of the controversy about his religion philosophical position, the so-called Maimonidesstreit. Nevertheless, Maimonides is considered the authority par excellence in the field of religious law literature. Unlike Maimonides ' other significant works that were written in Arabic, Mishneh Torah is written in the original Hebrew.

Guide for the Perplexed

At its religious and philosophical masterpiece " Guide of the Perplexed ," Maimonides worked from 1176 to 1190 or 1200 ( the date is disputed).

The work is written in Judeo - Arabic under the title Dalālat alḥā'irīn دلالة الحائرين and was, of Maimonides ' contemporaries Samuel ibn Tibbon in a literal version and of Judah al - Charisi in freer form, both times under the title More nevuchim " teacher humiliated - or: Perplexed, confused - " translated into Hebrew. A little later published Latin translations, first in two short extracts, the Liber de parabola and the Liber de Uno Deo Benedicto, then - were probably burned by 1242/44, the same as in Paris editions of the Talmud - completely, possibly by Nicholas Donin and Thibaud de Sézanne ( so GK Hasselhoff ), based on the second Hebrew translation of Judah al - Charisi, under the title Dux neutrorum. This translation was the 1520 Humanist Jodocus Ascensius Badius print. It was 1964 and relaunched in 2005, in facsimile at Minerva. 1629 published Buxtorf Johann the Younger, a second complete Latin translation.

Problem of reference of the work is the (apparent) incompatibility of two systems: on the one hand of faith with his revealed truth on the other hand that of Aristotelian logic and metaphysics. On this (apparent) contradiction is based the eponymous indecision of believing philosophers. Maimonides even tried the Jewish religion with the Aristotelian, partly and the Neo-Platonic philosophy to join. To this end, he proposes, among others, a variety of different meanings Torastellen, especially those where is formulated pictorially and anthropomorphic categories and physical body God be settled. The philosopher and scientist should in the case of (apparent) contradiction interpret allegorically, and so come to a deeper truth level, which agree with the principles of logic and science. The simple believer, however, may the literal sense - as Maimonides seems to say - take as an immediate truth. The accurate reconstruction of the theory is still controversial. (P. similar traditions of allegorical reading of the Bible PaRDeS. ) Your cognitive, linguistic theory and metaphysical framework forms a particularly radical form of negative theology.

The Guide of the Perplexed was in the 13th century and spread in Europe and was, despite initial ban attempts to one of the central writings in religious and philosophical debates. In particular, Thomas Aquinas sat down with her critically apart and developed his doctrine of analogy partly in response to the negative theology of the Dux neutrorum. Benevolent, the reception is previously at Albertus Magnus, then later in Meister Eckhart and Nicholas of Cusa. Spinoza usually takes a critical look at her. In the 18th century, Moses Mendelssohn attacked and especially enthusiastic Salomon Maimon back to Maimonides ' work to establish a modern Jewry in the spirit of the Enlightenment in terms of the Haskalah. Among the numerous influenced by Maimonides thinkers of the 19th and 20th centuries, for example, Hermann Cohen to mention his neokantianisch ethically - impregnated reading or Leo Strauss, whose Maimonides interpretation postulated a hidden radical meaning of the text and is seen most critical today.

Maimonides as physician

Maimonides received his first medical knowledge probably from his father, but continued his medical education continued during his seven -year stay in Fes, where he belonged to the circle of the doctors there. In his Treatise on Asthma he describes talks with the Jewish physician Abu Yusuf ibn Mu'allim and with Muhammad, son of the scholar Avenzoar which Averroes taught in medicine. Maimonides was familiar with Arabic translations of the classical writings of Greek medicine, and concerned itself summaries of some of the writings of Arab doctors.

That Maimonides as a doctor in Muslim circles enjoyed high reputation, it is apparent inter alia from the writings of the scholar Ibn Abi Usaibia (1203-1270) and Abd al- Latif al - Baghdadi, who in 1201 Maimonides visited in Cairo.

Maimonides classified medications into three sections: preventive medicine, healing the sick and the convalescent care, including the elderly and the handicapped. His medical theories are based on the then widespread humoral pathology, as it was developed by Hippocrates and Galen. He emphasizes the rational character of medicine and is explicitly against the use of incantations and amulets in the treatment of patients. In his Treatise on Asthma Maimonides stresses that the exercise of the medical craft art, logic and intuition is needed and that a doctor needs to gain a comprehensive view of the patient in order to make a diagnosis of his general condition, on diseases of individual organs.

Maimonides wrote ten medical treatises in Arabic, most of them towards the end of his life in Cairo:

Maimonides as an astronomer

Maimonides wrote no systematic treatise on astronomy, but was thoroughly familiar with the subject, as some places in the Guide of the Perplexed and in his work on the calendar calculation show the sanctification of the new moon. In 1194 he wrote in a letter that was addressed to some rabbis in the South of France, that he had studied astrology as the first secular subject and read all available Arabic sources on the topic, where he simultaneously condemned astrology as a pseudoscience.