Charles Sanders Peirce
Charles Sanders Peirce was an American philosopher, logician and scientist, sometimes known as "the father of pragmatism". He was employed as a scientist for thirty years. Today he is appreciated for his contributions to logic, philosophy, scientific methodology and for his founding of pragmatism. An innovator in mathematics, philosophy, research methodology, various sciences, Peirce considered himself and foremost, a logician, he made major contributions to logic, but logic for him encompassed much of that, now called epistemology and philosophy of science. He saw logic as the formal branch of semiotics, of which he is a founder, which foreshadowed the debate among logical positivists and proponents of philosophy of language that dominated 20th century Western philosophy. Additionally, he defined the concept of abductive reasoning, as well as rigorously formulated mathematical induction and deductive reasoning; as early as 1886 he saw that logical operations could be carried out by electrical switching circuits.
The same idea was used decades to produce digital computers. In 1934, the philosopher Paul Weiss called Peirce "the most original and versatile of American philosophers and America's greatest logician". Webster's Biographical Dictionary said in 1943 that Peirce was "now regarded as the most original thinker and greatest logician of his time." Keith Devlin referred to Peirce as one of the greatest philosophers ever. Peirce was born at 3 Phillips Place in Massachusetts, he was the son of Sarah Hunt Mills and Benjamin Peirce, himself a professor of astronomy and mathematics at Harvard University and the first serious research mathematician in America. At age 12, Charles read his older brother's copy of Richard Whately's Elements of Logic the leading English-language text on the subject. So began his lifelong fascination with logic and reasoning, he went on to earn a A. B. and a A. M. from Harvard. In 1863 the Lawrence Scientific School awarded him a B. Sc. Harvard's first summa cum laude chemistry degree.
His academic record was otherwise undistinguished. At Harvard, he began lifelong friendships with Francis Ellingwood Abbot, Chauncey Wright, William James. One of his Harvard instructors, Charles William Eliot, formed an unfavorable opinion of Peirce; this proved fateful, because Eliot, while President of Harvard (1869–1909—a period encompassing nearly all of Peirce's working life—repeatedly vetoed Peirce'e employment at the university. Peirce suffered from his late-teens onward from a nervous condition known as "facial neuralgia", which would today be diagnosed as trigeminal neuralgia, his biographer, Joseph Brent, says that when in the throes of its pain "he was, at first stupefied, aloof, depressed suspicious, impatient of the slightest crossing, subject to violent outbursts of temper". Its consequences may have led to the social isolation which made his life's years so tragic. Between 1859 and 1891, Peirce was intermittently employed in various scientific capacities by the United States Coast Survey and its successor, the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey, where he enjoyed his influential father's protection until the latter's death in 1880.
That employment exempted Peirce from having to take part in the American Civil War. At the Survey, he worked in geodesy and gravimetry, refining the use of pendulums to determine small local variations in the Earth's gravity, he was elected a resident fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in January 1867. The Survey sent him to Europe five times, first in 1871 as part of a group sent to observe a solar eclipse. There, he sought out Augustus De Morgan, William Stanley Jevons, William Kingdon Clifford, British mathematicians and logicians whose turn of mind resembled his own. From 1869 to 1872, he was employed as an Assistant in Harvard's astronomical observatory, doing important work on determining the brightness of stars and the shape of the Milky Way. On April 20, 1877 he was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences. In 1877, he proposed measuring the meter as so many wavelengths of light of a certain frequency, the kind of definition employed from 1960 to 1983. During the 1880s, Peirce's indifference to bureaucratic detail waxed while his Survey work's quality and timeliness waned.
Peirce took years to write reports. Meanwhile, he wrote entries thousands during 1883–1909, on philosophy, logic and other subjects for the encyclopedic Century Dictionary. In 1885, an investigation by the Allison Commission exonerated Peirce, but led to the dismissal of Superintendent Julius Hilgard and several other Coast Survey employees for misuse of public funds. In 1891, Peirce resigned from the Coast Survey at Superintendent Thomas Corwin Mendenhall's request, he never again held regular employment. In 1879, Peirce was appointed Lecturer in logic at Johns Hopkins University, which had strong departments in a number of areas that interested him, such as philosophy and mathematics, his Studies in Logic by Members of the Johns Hopkins University contained works by himself and Allan Marquand, Christine Ladd, Benjamin Ives Gilman, Oscar Howard Mitchell, several of whom were his graduate students. Peirce's nonte
Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that examines the fundamental nature of reality, including the relationship between mind and matter, between substance and attribute, between possibility and actuality. The word "metaphysics" comes from two Greek words that, together mean "after or behind or among the natural", it has been suggested that the term might have been coined by a first century CE editor who assembled various small selections of Aristotle’s works into the treatise we now know by the name Metaphysics. Metaphysics studies questions related to what it is for something to exist and what types of existence there are. Metaphysics seeks to answer, in an abstract and general manner, the questions: What is there? What is it like? Topics of metaphysical investigation include existence and their properties and time, cause and effect, possibility. Metaphysics study, conducted using deduction from that, known a priori. Like foundational mathematics, it tries to give a coherent account of the structure of the world, capable of explaining our everyday and scientific perception of the world, being free from contradictions.
In mathematics, there are many different ways. While metaphysics may, as a special case, study the entities postulated by fundamental science such as atoms and superstrings, its core topic is the set of categories such as object and causality which those scientific theories assume. For example: claiming that "electrons have charge" is a scientific theory. There are two broad stances about; the strong, classical view assumes that the objects studied by metaphysics exist independently of any observer, so that the subject is the most fundamental of all sciences. The weak, modern view assumes that the objects studied by metaphysics exist inside the mind of an observer, so the subject becomes a form of introspection and conceptual analysis; some philosophers, notably Kant, discuss both of these "worlds" and what can be inferred about each one. Some philosophers, such as the logical positivists, many scientists, reject the strong view of metaphysics as meaningless and unverifiable. Others reply that this criticism applies to any type of knowledge, including hard science, which claims to describe anything other than the contents of human perception, thus that the world of perception is the objective world in some sense.
Metaphysics itself assumes that some stance has been taken on these questions and that it may proceed independently of the choice—the question of which stance to take belongs instead to another branch of philosophy, epistemology. Ontology is the philosophical study of the nature of being, existence or reality, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations. Traditionally listed as the core of metaphysics, ontology deals with questions concerning what entities exist or may be said to exist and how such entities may be grouped, related within a hierarchy, subdivided according to similarities and differences. Identity is a fundamental metaphysical issue. Metaphysicians investigating identity are tasked with the question of what it means for something to be identical to itself, or — more controversially — to something else. Issues of identity arise in the context of time: what does it mean for something to be itself across two moments in time? How do we account for this? Another question of identity arises when we ask what our criteria ought to be for determining identity?
And how does the reality of identity interface with linguistic expressions? The metaphysical positions one takes on identity have far-reaching implications on issues such as the mind-body problem, personal identity and law; the ancient Greeks took extreme positions on the nature of change. Parmenides denied change altogether, while Heraclitus argued that change was ubiquitous: "ou cannot step into the same river twice." Identity, sometimes called Numerical Identity, is the relation that a "thing" bears to itself, which no "thing" bears to anything other than itself. A modern philosopher who made a lasting impact on the philosophy of identity was Leibniz, whose Law of the Indiscernibility of Identicals is still in wide use today, it states that if some object x is identical to some object y any property that x has, y will have as well. Put formally, it states ∀ x ∀ y However, it seems, that objects can change over time. If one were to look at a tree one day, the tree lost a leaf, it would seem that one could still be looking at that same tree.
Two rival theories to account for the relationship between change and identity are perdurantism, which treats the tree as a series of tree-stages, endurantism, which maintains that the organism—the same tree—is present at every stage in its history. Objects appear to us in space and time, while abstract entities such as classes, r
Peter Lombard, was a scholastic theologian, Bishop of Paris, author of Four Books of Sentences, which became the standard textbook of theology, for which he earned the accolade Magister Sententiarum. Peter Lombard was born in northwestern Italy, to a poor family, his date of birth was between 1095 and 1100. His education most began in Italy at the cathedral schools of Novara and Lucca; the patronage of Odo, bishop of Lucca, who recommended him to Bernard of Clairvaux, allowed him to leave Italy and further his studies at Reims and Paris. Petrus Lombardus studied first in the cathedral school at Reims, where Magister Alberich and Lutolph of Novara were teaching, arrived in Paris about 1134, where Bernard recommended him to the canons of the church of St. Victor. In Paris, where he spent the next decade teaching at the cathedral school of Notre Dame, he came into contact with Peter Abelard and Hugh of St. Victor, who were among the leading theologians of the time. There are no proven facts relating to his whereabouts in Paris until 1142 when he became recognized as writer and teacher.
Around 1145, Peter became a "magister", or professor, at the cathedral school of Notre Dame in Paris. Peter's means of earning a living before he began to derive income as a teacher and from his canon's prebend is shrouded in uncertainty. Lombard's style of teaching gained quick acknowledgment, it can be surmised that this attention is what prompted the canons of Notre Dame to ask him to join their ranks. He was considered a celebrated theologian by 1144; the Parisian school of canons had not included among their number a theologian of high regard for some years. The canons of Notre Dame, to a man, were members of the Capetian dynasty, relatives of families aligned to the Capetians by blood or marriage, scions of the Île-de-France or eastern Loire Valley nobility, or relatives of royal officials. In contrast, Peter had no relatives, ecclesiastical connections, no political patrons in France, it seems that he must have been invited by the canons of Notre Dame for his academic merit. He became a subdeacon in 1147.
He was present at the consistory of Paris in 1147, he attended the Council of Reims in 1148, where Pope Eugenius III was present at the synod, which examined Gilbert de la Porrée and Éon de l'Étoile. Peter was among the signers of the act condemning Gilbert's teachings. At some time after 1150 he became a deacon an archdeacon, maybe as early as 1152, he was ordained priest some time before 1156. On 28 July 1159, at the Feast of Saints Paul, he was consecrated as bishop of Paris. Walter of St Victor accused Peter of obtaining the office by simony; the more usual story is that Philip, younger brother of Louis VII. and archdeacon of Notre-Dame, was elected by the canons but declined in favor of Peter, his teacher. His reign as bishop was brief, he died on either 21 or 22 July 1160. Little can be ascertained about Lombard's administrative style or objectives because he left behind so few episcopal acta, he was succeeded by the builder of the Cathedral of Notre Dame. His tomb in the church of Saint-Marcel in Paris was destroyed during the French Revolution, but a transcription of his epitaph survives.
Peter Lombard wrote commentaries on the Pauline epistles. From the 1220s until the 16th century, no work of Christian literature, except for the Bible itself, was commented upon more frequently. All the major medieval thinkers, from Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas to William of Ockham and Gabriel Biel, were influenced by it; the young Martin Luther still wrote glosses on the Sentences, John Calvin quoted from it over 100 times in his Institutes. Though the Four Books of Sentences formed the framework upon which four centuries of scholastic interpretation of Christian dogma was based, rather than a dialectical work itself, the Four Books of Sentences is a compilation of biblical texts, together with relevant passages from the Church Fathers and many medieval thinkers, on the entire field of Christian theology as it was understood at the time. Peter Lombard's magnum opus stands squarely within the pre-scholastic exegesis of biblical passages, in the tradition of Anselm of Laon, who taught through quotations from authorities.
It stands out as the first major effort to bring together commentaries on the full range of theological issues, arrange the material in a systematic order, attempt to reconcile them where they appeared to defend different viewpoints. The Sentences starts with the Trinity in Book I, moves on to creation in Book II, treats Christ, the saviour of the fallen creation, in Book III, deals with the sacraments, which mediate Christ's grace, in Book IV. Peter Lombard's most famous and most controversial doctrine in the Sentences was his identification of charity with the Holy Spirit in Book I, distinction 17. According to this doctrine, when the Christian loves God and his neighbour, this love is God; this idea, in its inchoate form, can be extrapolated from certain remarks of St. Augustine of Hippo. Although this was never declared unorthodox, few theologians have been prepared to follow Peter Lombard in this aspect of his teaching. Compare Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical Deus caritas est, 2006. In the Sentences was the doctrine that marriage was consensual and need not be consummated to be cons
Christian views on slavery
Christian views on slavery are varied regionally and spiritually. Slavery in various forms has been a part of the social environment for much of Christianity's history, spanning well over eighteen centuries. In the early years of Christianity, slavery was an established feature of the economy and society in the Roman Empire, this persisted in different forms and with regional differences well into the Middle Ages. Saint Augustine described slavery as resulting from sin. In the eighteenth century the abolition movement took shape among Christian people across the globe. In the eighteenth and nineteenth century debates in the UK and the US, passages in the Bible were used by both pro-slavery advocates and abolitionists to support their respective views. In modern times, various Christian organizations reject the permissibility of slavery; the Bible uses Greek doulos to refer to slaves. Eved has a much wider meaning than the English term slave, in many circumstances it is more translated into English as servant or hired worker.
Doulos is more specific, but is used in more general senses as well: of the Hebrew prophets, of the attitude of Christian leaders toward those they lead, of Christians towards God, of Jesus himself. Slavery was not just an Old Testament phenomenon. Slavery was practiced in every ancient Middle Eastern society: Egyptian, Greek and Israelite. Slavery was an integral part of ancient commerce and temple religion. In the book of Genesis, Noah condemns Canaan to perpetual servitude: "Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers". T. David Curp notes that this episode has been used to justify racialized slavery, since "Christians and some Muslims identified Ham's descendants as black Africans". Anthony Pagden argued that "This reading of the Book of Genesis merged into a medieval iconographic tradition in which devils were always depicted as black. Pseudo-scientific theories would be built around African skull shapes, dental structure, body postures, in an attempt to find an unassailable argument—rooted in whatever the most persuasive contemporary idiom happened to be: law, genealogy, or natural science—why one part of the human race should live in perpetual indebtedness to another."The Canaanites settled in Canaan, rather than Africa, where Ham's other sons and Put, most settled.
Noah's curse only applied to Canaan, according to biblical commentator, Gleason L. Archer, this curse was fulfilled when Joshua conquered Canaan in 1400 BC. Although there is considerable doubt about the nature and extent of the conquest described in the early chapters of the book of Joshua, the post-Flood story did supply a rationale for the subjugation of the Canaanites, it is possible that the naming of'Canaan' in the post-Flood story is itself a reflection of the situation of warfare between peoples in the time when the written form of the story took shape. Some forms of servitude, customary in ancient times, were condoned by the Torah. Hebrew legislation maintained kinship rights, marriage rights, personal legal rights relating to physical protection and protection from breach of conduct, freedom of movement, access to liberty. Hebrews would be punished if they beat a slave causing death within a day or two, would have to let a slave go free if they destroyed a slave's eye or tooth, force a slave to work on the Sabbath, return an escaped slave of another people who had taken refuge among the Israelites, or to slander a slave.
It was common for a person to voluntarily sell oneself into slavery for a fixed period of time either to pay off debts or to get food and shelter. It was seen as legitimate to enslave captives obtained through warfare, but not through kidnapping for the purpose of enslaving them. Children could be sold into debt bondage, sometimes ordered by a court of law; the Bible does set minimum rules for the conditions. Slaves were to be treated as part of an extended family. Israelite slaves could not be compelled to work with rigor, debtors who sold themselves as slaves to their creditors had to be treated the same as a hired servant. If a master harmed a slave in one of the ways covered by the lex talionis, the slave was to be compensated by manumission. Israelite slaves were automatically manumitted after six years of work, and/or at the next Jubilee, although the latter would not apply if the slave was owned by an Israelite and was not in debt bondage. Slaves released automatically in their 7th year of service.
This provision did not include females sold into concubinage by impoverished parents. In other texts male and female slaves are both to be released after the sixth year of service. Liberated slaves were to be given livestock and wine as a parting gift; this 7th-year manumission could be voluntarily renounced. If a male slave had been given another slave in marriage, and
Christology "the understanding of Christ," is the study of the nature and work of Jesus Christ. It studies Jesus Christ's humanity and divinity, the relation between these two aspects; the earliest Christian writings gave several titles to Jesus, such as Son of Man, Son of God and Kyrios, which were all derived from the Hebrew scriptures. These terms centered around two themes, namely "Jesus as a preexistent figure who becomes human and returns to God," and "Jesus as a creature elected and'adopted' by God."From the second to the fifth century, the relation of the human and divine nature of Christ was a major focus of debates in the early church and at the first seven ecumenical councils. The Council of Chalcedon in 451 issued a formulation of the hypostatic union of the two natures of Christ, one human and one divine, "united with neither confusion nor division". Most of the major branches of Western Christianity and Eastern Orthodoxy subscribe to this formulation, while many branches of Oriental Orthodox Churches reject it, subscribing to miaphysitism.
Christology "the understanding of Christ," is the study of the nature and work of Jesus Christ. It studies Jesus Christ's humanity and divinity, the relation between these two aspects. "Ontological Christology" analyzes the being of Jesus Christ. "Functional Christology" analyzes the works of Jesus Christ, while "soteriological Christology" analyzes the "salvific" standpoints of Christology. Several approaches can be distinguished within Christology; the term "Christology from above" or "high Christology" refers to approaches that include aspects of divinity, such as Lord and Son of God, the idea of the pre-existence of Christ as the Logos, as expressed in the prologue to the Gospel of John. These approaches interpret the works of Christ in terms of his divinity. According to Pannenberg, Christology from above "was far more common in the ancient Church, beginning with Ignatius of Antioch and the second century Apologists." The term "Christology from below" or "low Christology" refers to approaches that begin with the human aspects and the ministry of Jesus and move towards his divinity and the mystery of incarnation.
A basic Christological teaching is that the person of Jesus Christ is both divine. The human and divine natures of Jesus Christ form a duality, as they coexist within one person. There are no direct discussions in the New Testament regarding the dual nature of the Person of Christ as both divine and human, since the early days of Christianity, theologians have debated various approaches to the understanding of these natures, at times resulting in ecumenical councils, schisms. Historical christological doctrines which gained broader support are Monophysitism, Miaphysitism and Monarchianism. Influential Christologies which were broadly condemned as heretical are Docetism and Nestorianism. In Christian theology, atonement is the method by which human beings can be reconciled to God through Christ's sacrificial suffering and death. Atonement is the forgiving or pardoning of sin in general and original sin in particular through the suffering and resurrection of Jesus, enabling the reconciliation between God and his creation.
Due to the influence of Gustaf Aulèn's Christus Victor, the various theories or paradigma's of atonement are grouped as "classical paradigm," "objective paradigm," and the "subjective paradigm": Classical paradigm:Ransom theory of atonement, which teaches that the death of Christ was a ransom sacrifice said to have been paid to Satan or to death itself, in some views paid to God the Father, in satisfaction for the bondage and debt on the souls of humanity as a result of inherited sin. Gustaf Aulén reinterpreted the ransom thory, calling it the Christus Victor doctrine, arguing that Christ's death was not a payment to the Devil, but defeated the powers of evil, which had held humankind in their dominion.. Theosis is a "corollary" of the recapitualtion. Objective paradigm: Satisfaction theory of atonement, developed by Anselm of Canterbury, which teaches that Jesus Christ suffered crucifixion as a substitute for human sin, satisfying God's just wrath against humankind's transgression due to Christ's infinite merit.
Penal substitution called "forensic theory" and "vicarious punishment,", a development by the Reformers of Anselm's satisfaction theory. Instead of considering sin as an affront to God's honour, it sees sin as the breaking of God's moral law. Penal substitution sees sinful man as being subject to God's wrath, with the essence of Jesus' saving work being his substitution in the sinner's place, bearing the curse in the place of man. Moral government theory, "which views God as both the loving creator and moral Governor of the universe." Subjective paradigm: Moral influence theory of atonement, developed, or most notably propagated, by Abelard, who argued that "Jesus died as the demonstration of God's love," a demonstration which can change the hearts and minds of the sinners, turning back to God. Moral example theory, developed by Faustus Socinus in his work De Jesu Christo servatore, who rejected the idea of "vicarious satisfaction." According to
Scotism is the name given to the philosophical and theological system or school named after Blessed John Duns Scotus. The word comes from the name of its originator, whose Opus Oxoniense was one of the most important documents in medieval philosophy and Roman Catholic theology, defining what would be declared the Dogma of the Immaculate conception by Pope Pius IX in his constitution Ineffabilis Deus on 8 December 1854. Scotism developed out of the Old Franciscan School; this school of thought followed Augustinism which dominated theology at the time. Scotus found the ground cleared for the conflict with the followers of Aquinas, he made free use of Aristotelianism, but in its employment exercised sharp criticism, in important points adhered to the teaching of the Older Franciscan School – with regard to the plurality of forms or of souls, the spiritual matter of the angels and of souls, etc. wherein he energetically combatted Aquinas. Scotism, or what is known as the Later Franciscan School, is thus only a continuation or further development of the older school, with a much wider, although not exclusive acceptance of Peripatetic ideas.
The difference between Thomism and Scotism could be expressed by saying that, while both derive from Arabic Neoplatonized Aristotelianism, Thomism is closer to the orthodox Aristotelianism of Maimonides and Avicenna, while Scotism reflects the Platonizing tendency going back through Avicebron, the Brethren of Purity, the Liber de Causis and Proclus to Plotinus. Concerning the relation of these schools to each other, or the relation of Scotus to Alexander of Hales and St. Bonaventure, consult the work of the Flemish Recollect, Mathias Hauzeur, it is notable that, while Thomism became the official philosophy of the Church, Scotist influence prevailed on a number of important points, not least the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. Nominalism is older than Scotus, but its revival in Occamism may be traced to the one-sided exaggeration of some propositions of Scotus. Scotist Formalism is the direct opposite of Nominalism, the Scotists were at one with the Thomists in combatting the latter.
The Council of Trent defined as dogma a series of doctrines emphasized by the Scotists. In other points the canons were intentionally so framed; this was done at the Vatican Council. In the Thomistic–Molinistic controversy concerning the foreknowledge of God, the relation of grace to free will, the Scotists took little part, they either supported one of the parties, or took up a middle position, rejecting both the predetermination of the Thomists and the scientia media of the Molinists. God recognizes the free future acts in His essence, provides a free decree of His will, which does not predetermine our free will, but only accompanies it. Jesuit philosophers and theologians adopted a series of the Scotist propositions. Authorities reject in part many of these propositions and another series of propositions was misunderstood by Catholic theologians, in this false sense rightly rejected – e.g. the doctrine of the univocatio entis, of the acceptation of the merits of Christ and man, etc. Numerous other propositions have been accepted or at least favourably treated by a large number of Catholic scholars and amongst these are many propositions from psychology: e.g. that the powers of the soul are not accidents natural and necessary of the soul, that they are not distinct from the substance of the soul or from one another etc.
They took from Scotism many propositions concerning the doctrine of the angels. Scotism exercised an influence on the development of theology. A comparison of the Scotist teaching with that of Aquinas has been attempted – for example, in the abovementioned work of Hauzeur at the end of the first volume. In many cases, the differences are in the terminology and a reconciliation is possible if one emphasize certain parts of Scotus or Aquinas and passes over or tones down others. However, some contradictions remain on a number of points. Speaking, Scotism found its supporters within the Franciscan Order. However, this does not mean that the foundation and development of Scotism is to be regarded as a product of the rivalry between the two orders. Aquinas at first found a few opponents in his order – not all his fellow-Dominicans followed him in every particular; the Scotist doctrines were supported by many Minorites. Furthermore, Scotism found not a few supporters among secular professors and in other religious orders in England and Spain.
Of the Minorites who supported Scotist doctrine, the Conventuals seem to have adhered most faithfully to Scotus at the University of Padua, where many esteemed teachers lectured. It is only at the end of the 15th or the beginning of the 16th century that a special Scotist School can be spoken of; the works of the master were collected, brought out in many editions and commentated, etc. And from 1501 we find numerous regulations of general chapters recommending or directly prescribing Scotism as the
Moses ben Maimon known as Maimonides and referred to by the acronym Rambam, was a medieval Sephardic Jewish philosopher who became one of the most prolific and influential Torah scholars of the Middle Ages. In his time, he was a preeminent astronomer and physician. Born in Córdoba, Almoravid Empire on Passover Eve, 1135 or 1138, he worked as a rabbi and philosopher in Morocco and Egypt, he died in Egypt on December 12, 1204, whence his body was taken to the lower Galilee and buried in Tiberias. During his lifetime, most Jews greeted Maimonides' writings on Jewish law and ethics with acclaim and gratitude as far away as Iraq and Yemen. Yet, while Maimonides rose to become the revered head of the Jewish community in Egypt, his writings had vociferous critics in Spain. Nonetheless, he was posthumously acknowledged as among the foremost rabbinical decisors and philosophers in Jewish history, his copious work comprises a cornerstone of Jewish scholarship, his fourteen-volume Mishneh Torah still carries significant canonical authority as a codification of Talmudic law.
He is sometimes known as "ha Nesher ha Gadol" in recognition of his outstanding status as a bona fide exponent of the Oral Torah. Aside from being revered by Jewish historians, Maimonides figures prominently in the history of Islamic and Arab sciences and is mentioned extensively in studies. Influenced by Al-Farabi and his contemporary Averroes, he in his turn influenced other prominent Arab and Muslim philosophers and scientists, he became a prominent polymath in both the Jewish and Islamic worlds. His full Hebrew name is Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, whose acronym forms "Rambam", his full Arabic name is Abū ʿImrān Mūsā bin Maimūn bin ʿUbaidallāh al-Qurtabī, or Mūsā bin Maymūn for short. In Latin, the Hebrew ben becomes the Greek-style patronymic suffix -ides, forming "Moses Maimonides". Maimonides was born in Córdoba during what some scholars consider to be the end of the golden age of Jewish culture in the Iberian Peninsula, after the first centuries of the Moorish rule. At an early age, he developed an interest in sciences and philosophy.
He read those Greek philosophers accessible in Arabic translations, was immersed in the sciences and learning of Islamic culture. Though the Gaonic tradition in its North African version, formed the basis of his legal thought, some scholars have argued in the 21st century that Muslim law, including Almohad legal thought had a substantial influence. Maimonides was not known as a supporter of mysticism, although a strong intellectual type of mysticism has been discerned in his philosophy, he expressed disapproval of poetry, the best of which he declared to be false, since it was founded on pure invention. This sage, revered for his personality as well as for his writings, led a busy life, wrote many of his works while travelling or in temporary accommodation. Maimonides studied Torah under his father Maimon, who had in turn studied under Rabbi Joseph ibn Migash, a student of Isaac Alfasi. A Berber dynasty, the Almohads, conquered Córdoba in 1148, abolished dhimmi status in some of their territories.
The loss of this status left the Jewish and Christian communities with conversion to Islam, death, or exile. Many Jews were forced to convert, but due to suspicion by the authorities of fake conversions, the new converts had to wear identifying clothing that set them apart and made them subject to public scrutiny. Maimonides's family, along with most other Jews, chose exile; some say, that it is that Maimonides feigned a conversion to Islam before escaping. This forced conversion was ruled invalid under Islamic law when brought up by a rival in Egypt. For the next ten years, Maimonides moved about in southern Spain settling in Fez in Morocco. During this time, he composed his acclaimed commentary on the Mishnah, during the years 1166–1168. Following this sojourn in Morocco, together with two sons, he sojourned in the Holy Land, before settling in Fustat, Egypt around 1168. While in Cairo, he studied in a yeshiva attached to a small synagogue. In the Holy Land, he prayed at the Temple Mount, he wrote that this day of visiting the Temple Mount was a day of holiness for him and his descendants.
Maimonides shortly thereafter was instrumental in helping rescue Jews taken captive during the Christian King Amalric's siege of the Egyptian town of Bilbays. He sent five letters to the Jewish communities of Lower Egypt asking them to pool money together to pay the ransom; the money was collected and given to two judges sent to Palestine to negotiate with the Crusaders. The captives were released. Following this triumph, the Maimonides family, hoping to increase their wealth, gave their savings to his brother, the youngest son David ben Maimon, a merchant. Maimonides directed his brother to procure goods only at the Sudanese port of ‘Aydhab. After a long arduous trip through the desert, David was unimpressed by the goods on offer there. Against his brother's wishes, David boarded a ship for India, since great wealth was to be found in the East. Before he could reach his destination, David drowned at sea sometime between 1169 and 1177; the death of his brother caused Maimonides to become sick with grief.
In a letter, he wrote: The greatest misfortune that has befallen me during my entire life—worse than anything else—was the demise of the saint, may his memory be blessed, who drowned in the Indian sea