[Skip to Navigation]
December 27, 1965

The Hygienic Principles of Moses Maimonides

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine, Maimonides Hospital, Brooklyn, NY.

JAMA. 1965;194(13):1352-1354. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090260012003

The life and medical writings of Moses Maimonides have recently been commented upon.1 One of the more popular of Maimonides' medical works is the Treatise on Hygiene which was written in Arabic in 1199 at the request of the Sultan AlMalik Al Afdal, eldest son of Saladin the Great of Egypt. It was translated into Hebrew and Latin by Moses Ibn Tibbon and John Di Capua, respectively, in the 13th century. Recently, German2 and English3,4 versions as well as a new Hebrew edition5 have appeared.

However, Maimonides' other theological and rabbinic works also contain numerous references to personal and physical hygiene. In volume 1 of his massive codification of biblical and talmudic law, the Mishneh Torah, an entire chapter is devoted exclusively to principles of hygiene. This, chapter 4 of the laws dealing with temperaments (Hilchoth De'oth), is presented here in its entirety, translated from the original