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Maimonides Medical Writing, Volume 2: Maimonides' Commentary on the Aphorisms of Hippocrates

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Maimonides Medical Writing, Volume 2: Maimonides' Commentary on the Aphorisms of Hippocrates

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Maimonides Medical Writing, Volume 2: Maimonides' Commentary on the Aphorisms of Hippocrates
by Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (Moses Maimonides)
Translated by Fred Rosner
Maimonides Research Instritute, (1987)

Reviewed by Israel Drazin - April 1, 2010

This well-written volume focuses on Maimonides' Commentary on the Aphorisms of the great ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (about 460 BCE to about 370 BCE) who was the father of medicine and whose views, modified somewhat by Galen (second century CE), was followed by doctors for a millennium and a half as gospel/tradition. Maimonides' evaluation of the teachings of Hippocrates is very significant because it serves as an example of his general approach to life and to religion in general and Judaism in particular. Hippocrates was considered to be the authority on medicine and yet Maimonides had no qualms about investigating his claims and disagreeing with them. He did this with Jewish traditions as well.

Maimonides taught that people who want to learn the truth should not depend on the teaching of another no matter how authoritative that person is considered to be in the community or in history or even on a long-standing tradition of a large group of people, no matter how sacrosanct that tradition is. One must evaluate the tradition and determine whether it is logical and conforms to what one observes of the world.


Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of seventeen books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible, which he co-authors with Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, and a series of four books on the twelfth century philosopher Moses Maimonides. The Orthodox Union (OU) and Yeshiva University publish weekly chapters of Drazin and Wagner's book Let's Study Onkelos on www.ou.org/torah and on www.yutorah@yutorah.org. His website is http://booksnthoughts.com.

The views expressed in this review/article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Jewish Eye.
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