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Views & Reviews Medical Classics

Guide to Good Health

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 07 March 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e1677
  1. Joseph Rothenberg, primary care physician, Jerusalem, Israel
  1. shir1{at}

Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon (1135-1204), also known as Maimonides or Rambam, was one of the great men of his or any generation. As a rabbi, philosopher, and doctor he was pre-eminent. Born in Spain and educated in Tunisia, he lived most of his life in Egypt, where he died.

As a doctor, Maimonides’s fame spread far and wide. In Egypt he was chief physician to the royal family. Richard I of England (the Lionheart) requested Maimonides to be his own physician but was refused. He wrote medical treatises on many subjects, his opinions subsequently referred to alongside those of Hippocrates and Galen.

Maimonides’s work day was typically 20 hours long. It began at dawn with morning prayers, after which he …

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