Sherwin B. Nuland (View Bio)
Hardcover: Schocken, 2005.
Moses Maimonides was a Renaissance man before there was a Renaissance: a great physician who served a sultan, a dazzling Torah scholar, a community leader, a daring philosopher whose greatest work—THE GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED—attempted to reconcile scientific knowledge with faith in God. He was a Jew living in a Muslim world, a rationalist living in a time of superstition. Eight hundred years after his death, his notions about God, faith, the afterlife, and the Messiah still stir debate; his life as a physician still inspires; and the enigmas of his character still fascinate. Sherwin B. Nuland—best-selling author of HOW WE DIE—focuses his surgeon's eye and writer's pen on this greatest of rabbis, most challenging of Jewish philosophers, and most honored of Jewish doctors. He gives us a portrait of Maimonides that makes his life, his times, and his thought accessible to the general reader as they have never been before.
"Sherwin B. Nuland's concise account of Maimonides endeavors to find ‘the common ground on which Maimonides can walk together with a man or woman of today.’ Nuland writes sympathetically, one Jewish doctor considering this most extraordinary of Jewish doctors, who began to practice medicine in 1175 after the death of his brother (and the loss of the family fortune) in a shipwreck sent him into a profound depression. Nuland, clinical professor of surgery at Yale University and author of How We Die, among other books, is a careful and appreciative expositor, and has taken the trouble to read the critical literature. His book is a guide for those perplexed by Maimonides, as well as those ignorant of him. It is also a useful guide to Jewish ethics…. A deeply satisfying and humane introduction to the greatest of Jewish thinkers." — Anmthony Julius, The New York Times Book Review
"The tradition of the doctor as literary man (or woman) has a long, honorable pedigree, and it's easy to see why. For the physician, the broken heart and corruptible flesh are no mere abstractions but everyday realities—and death, staved off by pills and high-tech palliatives, is quite literally a fact of life. In our time, Sherwin B. Nuland is probably the foremost exponent of this tradition. Who better, then, to write a short life of its founding father, the great Maimonides?" — Newsday