Moses Maimonides (Heb. Rabbi Mosheh hn Maimon, commonly abridged into the initial name Rambam; Arab. Abu Amram Mttsa tin Abdullah ibn Maimon ul-Kortobi), a Jewish theologian and philosopher, born in Cordova, Spain, March 30, 1135, died in Cairo, Egypt, Dec 13, 1204. lie was the descendant of "a family distinguished in the annals of the Jewish community of his native city, at that period a principafseat of Arabic learning, and received from his father Maimon. a theological and astronomical writer in Arabic, a superior education, He was distinguished by a rare proficiency in mathematics, astronomy, medicine, philosophy, and theology, as well as by a surpassing ability as a writer in Arabic and Hebrew. In consequence of the great persecution of Jews. Christians, and sectarian Mohammedans by the dynasty of the Almohades in Cordova, he retired with his father to Fez, and subsequently proceeded to Egypt (1165), passing through Acre and Jerusalem, where his father died. He established himself in Mitzr or Fostat (Old Cairo), where he maintained himself for some time by trade, until his sci-entiric acquirements secured his appointment as physician to the court of Saladin, which office he also held under two successive reigns.
At the same time he was active as a rabbi in the Jewish congregation of Cairo, and especially as a theological teacher, his fame attracting numerous pupils even from the most distant countries of the West. But he exercised a far more powerful influence upon his brethren by his numerous writings, with few exceptions in Arabic, almost all of which have since been acknowledged as standard works. The most distinguished Hebrew translators of the age vied in spreading his masterpieces all over the Jewish world, and thus enabled him to become almost the second lawgiver of his people, and to inaugurate among them a period of literary and philosophical activity, which is still regarded as the golden age of the Jews in exile. Of his works, of which numerous original MSS. are extant in the libraries of Oxford, Home, Parma, etc, embracing among others treatises on medicine, mathematics, and astronomy, the most frequently reprinted (in Hebrew translations or original) are: Perush hammishnah("Commentary on the Mishnah"), including an introduction and an ethical treatise known under the title of Shemonah pera-("Eight Chapters"); Sepher hammitzvoth ("The Book of the Commandments"), a systematic compend of the Biblical commandments, both positive and negative, according to the rabbis amounting to the number of 613; Milloth hahiggayon ("The Terms of Logic")-Muhneh torah ("The Copy of the Law"), a general code of Jewish observances, written originally in Hebrew, in many respects the most extraordinary strictly rabbinical production generally known under the appellation of Yad hazakahr("The Strong Hand-), from its 14 divisions, Yad signifying hand, and the numerical value of the letters of which the word is compos,,! being 14; and Moreh nebukhim ("The Guide of the Perplexed"), a philosophy of Judaism, which from its influence on the development of Jewish science and genius is the most important production of the author.
The original Arabic text of the last named work, in Hebrew- letters, from an Oxford manuscript, was published with a French translation and notes by S. Munk (Le guide des egares, traite de theologie et de philosophie par Alo'ise ben Maimoun, 3 vols., Paris, 1856-'66). Some of the views of Maimonides having been violently attacked by various western rabbis, his orthodoxy and the rights of philosophy in the synagogue were vindicated among others by his learned son and successor as physician to the Egyptian court, Abraham ben Moses.