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Perspectives on MaimonidesPhilosophical and Historical Studies$
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Joel L. Kraemer

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780197100714

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9780197100714.001.0001

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Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed on Forbidden Food in the light of his own Medical Opinion

Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed on Forbidden Food in the light of his own Medical Opinion

(p.195) 10 Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed on Forbidden Food in the light of his own Medical Opinion
Perspectives on Maimonides

Jacob Levinger

Liverpool University Press

This chapter addresses the prohibitions concerning food found in Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed. If one sums up the reasons given in the Guide for the prohibitions concerning food, concentrating on the medical arguments for forbidding various kinds of food, one finds the following: (1) all forbidden food is harmful nourishment; (2) among all the foods forbidden by the Torah, only with regard to the pig and fat is there room for any doubt that they are harmful from the medical viewpoint; (3) blood and the carcasses of beasts that have died a natural death are also forbidden by the Torah; and (4) the prohibition of the Torah against cooking ‘a kid in the milk of its mother’ is explained in the Talmud as a prohibition against either cooking or eating meat with milk in any form whatsoever. The question is, do these medical arguments really represent Maimonides’ medical opinion? Or are they merely given in order to make the prohibitions more palatable to the common people? The chapter explains that what Maimonides says in the Guide seems to agree fully with the opinions he expresses in the rest of his works, and especially in his medical writings. It then considers Maimonides’ The Regimen of Health.

Keywords:   forbidden food, Maimonides, Guide of the Perplexed, medical arguments, harmful nourishment, Torah, medical opinion, medical writings, The Regimen of Health

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