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Partially related.

I have heard a number of times over the years that everything the Rambam wrote was based on some source that he had before him, and therefore when he writes something that we don't know the source for, we should believe that during the Rambam's time, such a source did exist (like a lost midrash or something like that). I was wondering how this is known. Does the Rambam himself state that everything he wrote is based off of sources before him? Are there other rabbis who have stated this about the Rambam?

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    I thought in his hakdama to mishneh Torah he addresses this.
    – robev
    Mar 4 at 14:08
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    What's the other choice? He made stuff up ח"ו? Sometimes he does say נראה לי, which I assume means that he saw more than one way to read the gemara but thought one was better. I guess I don't understand what you mean by a "source": like the rest of us (but better) he learned all of the Torah and drew conclusions about its details. Sometimes you can point to a particular detail and sometimes it's from a lot of things together.
    – MichoelR
    Mar 4 at 17:45
  • The whole purpose of the sefer was to collect rulings from the books of the Oral Torah.
    – N.T.
    Mar 4 at 23:13

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