Special Article
September 13, 1999

Moses MaimonidesMedieval Physician and Scholar

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention, Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Boston, Mass. Dr Simon carried out preliminary research for this project while completing residency training at the University of California, San Francisco.


Copyright 1999 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.1999

Arch Intern Med. 1999;159(16):1841-1845. doi:10.1001/archinte.159.16.1841

Moses Maimonides (1135-1204), physician and philosopher, was the greatest Jewish thinker of the Middle Ages. Faced with a life of persecution, exile, and tragedy, Maimonides overcame obstacles to become the leading physician in his era, a clinician whose skills were sought across continents. Despite long days caring for patients, Maimonides wrote extensively about both medicine and philosophy. His medical works span all topics of clinical medicine and reflect rational thinking and an understanding of the relationship between mind and body. Well known for his philosophical writings, such as The Guide for the Perplexed, Maimonides codified Jewish law and revolutionized Jewish thinking. This review of his life and achievements provides insight into the world of a remarkable 12th-century physician and may offer valuable lessons for physicians today.