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Statue of Maimonides. Cordoba, Spain.
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Statue of Maimonides. Cordoba, Spain.

(1135 Cordoba, Spain-1204 Fustat, Egypt). Jewish philosopher and physician.
Maimonides was also known as Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, or Rambam. With worsened living conditions for Jews after the Almohads captured Cordoba in 1148, the family of Maimonides emigrated, and eventually settled in Egypt.
Maimonides worked as chief rabbi in Cairo, and as physician for Saladin.
Maimonides had great impact on Judaism and he added to Jewish law by writing the Misnah Torah which was completed between 1170 and 1180. The Misnah Torah was made up of 14 books, and written in Hebrew. It met strong resistance in its time, as it so thoroughly rearranged Rabbinic law, and because Maimonides did not clarify his sources, and with this appeared as more of an authority than he could justify.
His 13. Articles of Faith was also highly influential, and also controversial in its time, but is still adhered by many Jews. These creedal affirmations sought to clarify the difference between Judaism, and Islam and Christianity.
Moreh Nebukhim, or Guide for the Perplexed from 1190, attempted to reconcile Rabbinic Judaism with Aristotelian rationalism. This work dealt with the nature of God and creation, free will, good and evil. Guide for the Perplexed had strong impact also on the most important Christian philosophers in the following centuries. Maimonides stated that man cannot know anything with certainty about God, all that could be said of him, would have to be through negative statements: statements on what God is not. Maimonides also used allegorical interpretations on the antropomorph expressions on God, and provoked the many learned who read the Bible literally.
Maimonides was influential in other fields as well. He attacked astrology and its attempts to calculate the time of the coming of Messiah.
In the medical fields, Maimonides is now remembered most for his emphasis on preventive medicine.

By Tore Kjeilen