Friday, January 26, 2007

MAIMONIDES AS A MEDIC; a review by Stephen Mark Dobbs in the Jewish News Weekly:
“Maimonides,” by Sherwin B. Nuland, a professor of surgery at Yale, studies Maimonides from this medical perspective.

Maimonides was the most prominent physician to write about medicine from a Jewish perspective and sense of compassion. The Talmud considers the physician as a messenger and a partner of God. In the Mishneh Torah Maimonides writes: “A man should aim to maintain physical health and vigor, in order that his soul may be upright, in a condition to know God.”

As a 12th-century Jew living in a Muslim world, Maimonides read the ancient texts in Arabic, which provided a bridge between the Hellenistic era and that of the Renaissance and then the Enlightenment. Maimonides was among the early vanguard seeking to remove the veils of superstition of the Dark Ages that cast shadows over all learning, including medicine. He and other Jewish physicians were sought after by royal courts throughout the Muslim world and Christian Europe.

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