(born March 30, 1135, Córdoba—died Dec. 13, 1204, Egypt) Jewish philosopher, jurist, and physician. He was obliged to practice his faith secretly after a revolutionary and fanatical Islamic sect, the Almohads, captured Córdoba. To gain religious freedom, he settled in Egypt (1165), where he won fame for his medical skill and became court physician to the sultan Saladin. Maimonides's first major work, begun at age 23 and completed 10 years later, was an Arabic commentary on the Mishna. His other writings included a monumental code of Jewish law called the Mishne Torah (in Hebrew) and a classic work of religious philosophy, The Guide of the Perplexed (in Arabic), which was influenced by the teachings of Aristotle and called for a more rational approach to Judaism. It also sought to reconcile science, philosophy, and religion. He is considered the greatest intellectual figure of medieval Judaism.
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