The Mystery of Maimonides' Puzzling Name

Why would the most famous Jewish philosopher of all not have a Jewish name? Or did he?

May 5, 2020 | Arnold E. Franklin
About the author: Arnold E. Franklin is associate professor of history and director of the Center for Jewish Studies at Queens College in New York. He is the author of This Noble House: Jewish Descendants of King David in the Medieval Islamic East (2012) and co-editor of Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Medieval and Early Modern Times (2015).

From a marble relief portrait of Maimonides in the U.S. Capitol by Brenda Putnam. Architect of the Capitol.

The name of the towering religious philosopher Moses Maimonides (1138-1204) is surely one of the best-known and most resonant of all Jewish names in the annals of world culture. But, as a name, it’s surely also one of the most puzzling.

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