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May 2, 1986


JAMA. 1986;255(17):2293. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370170057024

To the Editor.—  History is ill-served by lines in MEDICAL NEWS1 that suggest that Maimonides, "the second Moses," was a philosopher who "settled" in Egypt rather than a controversial theologian who fled to Egypt from Muslim persecution. Writing in Arabic, Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, "the Rambam," was able to "accommodate" Greek science with teachings of the Talmud, as Rabbi Bokser wrote of his major contribution, The Guide for the Perplexed.2Furthermore, that as a physician he might "separate his medical from his theological beliefs" strains all credulity in light of his saintly career and of his approval of Galen's observation: "The students of medicine of Moses and of the Messiah learn more easily and more rapidly than the physicians and philosophers who strive in their own school of thought."3