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It is widely known that Rambam was greatly influenced by Aristotle, and his Guide and Hilchot Yesodey Hatorah practically repeat Aristotle's view and adopt them into Judaism (see also WIKI):

Moses Maimonides adopted Aristotelianism from the Islamic scholars and based his Guide for the Perplexed on it and that became the basis of Jewish scholastic philosophy.

EDIT: I forgot to mention the background of the Talmudic prohibition of studying Greek wisdom/philosophy:

"שלא ילמד אדם את בנו חכמה יוונית" (Sotah 9.14)

"ארור אדם, שילמד לבנו חכמה יוונית" (Sotah 49b)

Did Rambam himself explain this fact - how he got to study Greek philosophers so thoroughly, and how he got influenced by that?

  • I assume because he lived during the Golden Age of Spain, where it was quite popular to study Greek philosophy – robev Oct 25 at 12:03
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    -1. You ask how it came to be that he studied "Greek philosophers" but refer to only one and even cite a source that he was influenced by Islamic followers of that philosopher rather than by the philosopher himself. – msh210 Oct 25 at 12:16
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    Because he thought Aristotle was right? That's the usual reason to accept other people's ideas. – Heshy Oct 25 at 13:00
  • @msh210 DO you disagree with the very claim or just "scold" me for not bringing relevant sources? – Al Berko Oct 26 at 16:51
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    Since the Rambam's Arisotilianism has strong elements of Neo-Platonism, it seems clear his exposure to Aristo was via al-Kindi. Because al-Kindi's (or his students', unknown) translation of Aristo included something alleging to be Aristo's "Theology", but was really a summary of books 4-6 of Plotinus's enneads. In fact, Yesodei haTorah 2 is from Theology, and is neo-Platonic. (And I think that common neo-Platonism is how the Leshem found common ground between Qabbalah and Yesodei haTorah, aval ein kan hamaqom leha'arikh.) – Micha Berger Oct 30 at 13:51
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No record exists as to explain how Maimonides learned all that he knew about medicine in general and Aristotle in particular. He might not even have had a formal medical education. All that we can know from him is from his own statements, where we learn he was an avid reader. He notes that whenever he studied a subject, he would delve into it and learn all there is to know about the topic. Perhaps this method of learning and Aristotle's teaching drove him to stress the need to acquire knowledge. We know that at a very young age, he learned the rudiments of Judaism under the care of his father where he studied extensively. In addition, he taught himself many secular subjects, even those from non-Jews. Maimon ben Joseph was a student to Joseph ibn Migash (1077–1141) but as far as we know, Maimonides was only taught by his father.[1]


UCLA Professor Herbert A. Davidson analyzed Rambam's work and concluded that Maimonides did not incorporate the work of his favorite philosopher Aristotle until much later. He represents various periods of his life, reflecting his view that Rambam's opinion changed over time. In addition, Rabbi Goodman said in an interview that Rambam wrote the articles of faith in his twenties and the Moreh Nevukhim in his fifties, implying that the Rambam may have not adhered to all of his principles. This is because Rambam implemented the use of "Necessary beliefs," Aristotle's method, but no official consensus has been reached.

[1] Some claimed Maimonides was also a student of Migash, thereby claiming him to be a part of the long distinguished legacy but this would be impossible since Maimonides was about three years old when Migash died.

  • Please connect it somehow to the Greeks and Aristotle in particular. – Al Berko Oct 26 at 16:33
  • Let me know if my answer would need more edits. I'm happy to hear them. – Turk Hill Oct 26 at 17:01

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