Abstract - Elliot Haber

Maimonides (~1137-1204 CE), one of Judaism’s most renowned legal scholars and philosophers, was a skilled and highly respected doctor during the Middle Ages, serving as royal physician to #ala# ad-Din (Saladin). In his writings, which include several monographs on medical issues, Maimonides offers advice on topics ranging from irritable bowel syndrome to exercise techniques.

This paper examines some of his views and advice in regard to digestion, to discuss how he may have formulated these views, and shows to what extent they have or have not been outdated by today’s advanced medical knowledge.

Among the topics discussed are Maimonides’ suggestions that one recline while eating, warm up one’s body before a meal, and allow the body time to digest properly before intake of fluids. Maimonides built his knowledge of medicine by integrating Biblical teachings, Greek and Arabic medicine and his own experiences and logic.

The review of a great number of medical studies reveals that within the limits of medieval knowledge of the human body, Maimonides developed a dietary regimen that remains appropriate by today’s advanced understanding of the digestive process.


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