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Knowledge and the Scholarly Medical Traditions

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However much the three great traditions of medicine - Galenic, Chinese and Ayurvedic - differed from each other, they had one thing in common: scholarship. The foundational knowledge of each could only be acquired by careful study under teachers relying on ancient texts. Medical knowledge is special, operating as it does in the realm of the most fundamental human experiences - health, disease, suffering, birth and death - and the credibility of healers is of crucial importance. Because of this, scholarly medical knowledge offers a rich field for the study of different cultural practices in the legitimation of knowledge generally. The contributors to this volume are all specialists in the history or anthropology of these traditions, and their essays range from historical investigations to studies of present-day practices.
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Editorial Reviews

Examines and compares the means by which healers in western Galenic, Chinese, and Indian Ayuvedic medical traditions claimed to know something about promoting health and healing. They share the characteristic of basing knowledge on the written word rather than revelation, trial and error, or even simple apprenticeship. The 15 essays, from the Epistemology and the Scholarly Medical Tradition workshop, include historical studies and descriptions of current practice. The date and place of the workshop are not noted. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
From the Publisher
"...the book encloses rich lodes of scholarship which the explorer can mine with profit, receiving not only new information but flashes of new insight, according to his or her own background." Lester S. King, Journal of the History of Medicine
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521480710
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/1995
  • Pages: 383
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
List of contributors
1 Scholarly ways of knowing: an introduction 1
2 Epistemological arguments in early Greek medicine in comparativist perspective 25
3 Autopsia, historia and what women know: the authority of women in Hippocratic gynaecology 41
4 The growth of medical empiricism 60
5 Scholarship and social context: a medical case from the eleventh-century Near East 84
6 The experience of the book: manuscripts, texts, and the role of epistemology in early medieval medicine 101
7 Artifex factivus sanitatis: health and medical care in medieval Latin Galenism 127
8 Epistemology and learned medicine in early modern England 151
9 Text and experience in classical Chinese medicine 177
10 Visual knowledge in classical Chinese medicine 205
11 A deathly disorder: understanding women's health in late imperial China 235
12 Re-writing traditional medicine in post-Maoist China 251
13 Writing the body and ruling the land: Western reflections on Chinese and Indian medicine 279
14 The scholar, the wise man, and universals: three aspects of Ayurvedic medicine 297
15 The epistemological carnival: meditations on disciplinary intentionality and Ayurveda 320
Commentary 347
Commentary 355
Index 361
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