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Book and Media Reviews
January 11, 2006


Author Affiliations

Book and Media Reviews Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA.

JAMA. 2006;295(2):217. doi:10.1001/jama.295.2.217-a

As Hippocrates is to medical ethics, Maimonides is to virtues. Vast knowledge, philosophical mind, miraculous memory—such superlatives are used to portray the 12th-century clinician, who practiced in Egypt both in his own clinic and at the court of the great Islamic hero, Salah al-Din. Literary encomia may have started with the words of a contemporary Arab poet, who called Maimonides a healer greater even than Galen. So, too, Sherwin B. Nuland writes that the “Prayer of Maimonides” is the “credo for the life that was his, and has been mine.” What makes Nuland's concise biography of Maimonides like no other are the comments of its author, an erudite, humanistic, religious physician himself, on the qualities that have made Maimonides a medical icon.

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