I often hear the Hebrew abbreviation for Maimonides appended to a definite article but don't quite understand why it should be there when the unabbreviated name would (I think) never warrant such an appendage. Is one method of referring more correct/more acceptable by some standard?
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I've always thought it's because his (major) sefer is itself often called by this name. Once you say "the Rambam" with the meaning of "the sefer Mishneh Torah/Yad Hachazakah," it's a short step to using the same expression to refer to the author. Similarly with other Rishonim and Acharonim. By contrast, I've never heard anyone say "the Rashi," because his commentary isn't an independent sefer.