Posts Tagged ‘Jewish Scholars’

Press Release: Maimonides by Joel L. Kraemer

January 26th, 2010

*A National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist*

 Now in Paperback



The Life and World of One of Civilization’s Greatest Minds

BY Joel L. Kraemer


“[Kraemer] succeed[s] in reviving the man who wrote himself into history nearly a thousand years ago and reclaiming him for the modern world.” —Los Angeles Times


MAIMONIDES: The Life and World of One of Civilization’s Greatest Minds (Doubleday Religion; on sale February 9, 2010; $18.00; trade paperback), the first definitive biography of Moses Maimonides and a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist, is now in paperback. Written by Joel L. Kraemer, a man who has dedicated more than sixty years to studying one of the most influential minds in all of human history, this tremendous work illuminates Maimonides’ rich life as a philosopher, physician, and lawgiver.

His legacy can be seen in the many schools, universities, and hospitals that bear his name. His portrait hangs in the United States Capitol in the House of Representatives as one of the greatest lawgivers, alongside Hammurabi, Solon, and Jefferson. Maimonides’ life, career, and writings are the highest expression of the intertwined worlds of Judaism and Islam and continue to influence scholarly thought more than one thousand years later.

Born in Muslim-ruled Spain, Maimonides came into a culture where learned Jews were deeply conversant in Arabic philosophy and literature. When he was only ten, the invasion of fundamentalist Muslims from North Africa began Maimonides’ seventeen years of wandering. 

He lived in tumultuous times, at the peak of the Reconquista in Spain and the Crusades in Palestine. A master scholar, Maimonides become known as one of the foremost lawgivers for his compendium of Jewish Law, the Mishneh Torah, and contributed to mathematics and astronomy, logic and ethics, politics and theology. Maimonides was adept at interweaving religious tradition and scientific and philosophic thought—his works continue to influence generations of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish thinkers.

Many have attempted to tell Maimonides’ story, but none have ever captured the scope of his intellect and world the way Kraemer does. MAIMONIDES is at once a portrait of the great historical figure and an excursion into the Mediterranean world of the twelfth century when Muslim, Christian, and Jewish traditions clashed and mingled in intense intellectual exchange and religious conflict. It is a work that will be looked to for the next few generations as the standard on Maimonides—both as course adoption and for any general reader.

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Joel L. Kraemer began studying Maimonides when he was fourteen years old. He is a John Henry Barrows Professor in the Divinity School at the University of Chicago and received a master’s degree in Hebrew literature, a rabbinic ordination, and an honorary doctorate in Hebrew letters from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. Kraemer received his Ph.D. in Arabic and Islamic studies from Yale.  


The Life and World of One of Civilization’s Greatest Minds

Joel L. Kraemer

Doubleday Religion

On-Sale: February 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-385-51199-5; $18.00; Trade Paperback 

Doubleday Religion logo 

For more information about the book, please contact Emily Lyman at 212-782-8351 or

The Crown Publishing Group