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Book Review
December 1, 2006


Arch Surg. 2006;141(12):1265. doi:10.1001/archsurg.141.12.1265-a

Maimonides by Sherwin B. Nuland is a book that has nothing to do with surgery but is written by a surgeon. Nuland has written the life story and more of Maimonides, a philosopher, rabbi, physician, and politician. In addition to a description of 12th-century medicine, the reader will learn a good deal about the Jewish religion and life of Jews in an environment controlled by Muslims.

Moses ben Maimon was born in Cordoba, Spain, in 1138. Maimonides is the Hellenized version of his name. He was the son of a rabbi who was raised in an initially tolerant Arab culture. This atmosphere changed when a militant Muslim sect seized power. The family fled to southern Spain, then to Fez, Morocco, and in 1165 to Palestine. Jews were not being persecuted at that time but the country was poor and unstable, and the Maimons moved on to Egypt, settling permanently in Fustat in 1168.

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