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Maimonides
Cover of Maimonides
Maimonides
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Part of the Jewish Encounter series

Moses Maimonides was a Renaissance man before there was a Renaissance: a great physician who served a sultan, a dazzling Torah scholar, a community leader, a daring philosopher whose greatest work—The Guide for the Perplexed—attempted to reconcile scientific knowledge with faith in God. He was a Jew living in a Muslim world, a rationalist living in a time of superstition. Eight hundred years after his death, his notions about God, faith, the afterlife, and the Messiah still stir debate; his life as a physician still inspires; and the enigmas of his character still fascinate.

Sherwin B. Nuland—best-selling author of How We Die—focuses his surgeon’s eye and writer’s pen on this greatest of rabbis, most intriguing of Jewish philosophers, and most honored of Jewish doctors. He gives us a portrait of Maimonides that makes his life, his times, and his thought accessible to the...

Part of the Jewish Encounter series

Moses Maimonides was a Renaissance man before there was a Renaissance: a great physician who served a sultan, a dazzling Torah scholar, a community leader, a daring philosopher whose greatest work—The Guide for the Perplexed—attempted to reconcile scientific knowledge with faith in God. He was a Jew living in a Muslim world, a rationalist living in a time of superstition. Eight hundred years after his death, his notions about God, faith, the afterlife, and the Messiah still stir debate; his life as a physician still inspires; and the enigmas of his character still fascinate.

Sherwin B. Nuland—best-selling author of How We Die—focuses his surgeon’s eye and writer’s pen on this greatest of rabbis, most intriguing of Jewish philosophers, and most honored of Jewish doctors. He gives us a portrait of Maimonides that makes his life, his times, and his thought accessible to the...

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About the Author-
  • Sherwin B. Nuland, M.D., is the author of nine previous books, including Doctors: The Biography of Medicine, The Wisdom of the Body, The Mysteries Within, Lost in America: A Journey with My Father, and The Doctors' Plague. His book How We Die: Reflections on Life's Final Chapter won the National Book Award and spent thirty-four weeks on the New York Times best-seller list. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New Republic, The New York Times, Time, and The New York Review of Books. Nuland is a clinical professor of surgery at Yale University, where he also teaches bioethics and medical history. He lives with his family in Connecticut.

    Lost in America, Doctors: The Biography of Medicine, How We Live, and How We Die are available in paperback from Vintage Books.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 25, 2005
    Maimonides, one of the preeminent personalities of medieval Jewish history, was a jurist, philosopher, expert in Jewish law, physician at the court of Saladin and a respected and dedicated communal leader. Given all that, it's difficult to understand the decision to present Maimonides's legacy primarily through the lens of his work as a physician. The 12th century was a time of stagnation in the history of medicine, and the author himself concedes that Maimonides contributed very little that was new or innovative to the field. By contrast, his jurisprudential magnum opus
    , the Mishne Torah
    , constituted a groundbreaking work in its own day and continues to be authoritative almost a millennium later. Although Nuland acknowledges this in a chapter on Maimonides's religious scholarship, it is dwarfed by the overarching concern with medicine—which seems the primary interest of Nuland, a clinical professor of surgery at Yale. The author does a serviceable job of stitching together this slight, popular biography of the larger-than-life Maimonides, but his writing is marred by an overwrought prologue and some glib generalizations.

  • Dr. Jerome Groopman, author of The Anatomy of Hope "Will educate and inspire not only people of faith, but all who seek to lead a life of significance and meaning."
  • The New York Times Book Review "Nuland writes sympathetically, one Jewish doctor considering this most extraordinary of Jewish doctors . . . His book is a guide for those perplexed by Maimonides, as well as those ignorant of him. [It is] a deeply satisfying and humane introduction to the greatest of Jewish thinkers."
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    Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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