Moses ben Maimon[a] (1138–1204), commonly known as Maimonides (/maɪˈmɒnɪdiːz/)[b] and also referred to by the acronym Rambam (Hebrew: רמב״ם),[c] was a medieval Sephardic Jewish philosopher who became one of the most prolific and influential Torah scholars of the Middle Ages. In his time, he was also a preeminent astronomer and physician, serving as the personal physician of Saladin. Born in Córdoba, Almoravid Empire (present-day Spain), on Passover eve, 1138 (or 1135),[d] he worked as a rabbi, physician and philosopher in Morocco and Egypt. He died in Egypt on 12 December 1204, whence his body was taken to the lower Galilee and buried in Tiberias.
During his lifetime, most Jews greeted Maimonides’ writings on Jewish law and ethics with acclaim and gratitude, even as far away as Iraq and Yemen. Yet, while Maimonides rose to become the revered head of the Jewish community in Egypt, his writings also had vociferous critics, particularly in Spain. Nonetheless, he was posthumously acknowledged as one of the foremost rabbinic decisors and philosophers in Jewish history, and his copious work comprises a cornerstone of Jewish scholarship. His fourteen-volume Mishneh Torah still carries significant canonical authority as a codification of Halacha. He is sometimes known as “ha’Nesher ha’Gadol” (The Great Eagle) in recognition of his outstanding status as a bona fide exponent of the Oral Torah.
Aside from being revered by Jewish historians, Maimonides also figures very prominently in the history of Islamic and Arab sciences and he is mentioned extensively in studies. Influenced by Aristotle, Al-Farabi, Ibn Sina, and his contemporary Ibn Rushd, he became a prominent philosopher and polymath in both the Jewish and Islamic worlds. On his tomb is inscribed “From Moses to Moses there was none like Moses”.