Hippocrates on Ancient Medicine

Hippocrates on Ancient Medicine

Hippocrates on Ancient Medicine

Hippocrates on Ancient Medicine

Synopsis

The Hippocratic treatise On Ancient Medicine, a key text in the history of early Greek thought, mounts a highly coherent attack on the attempt to base medical practice on principles drawn from natural philosophy. This volume presents an up-to-date Greek text of On Ancient Medicine, a new English translation, and a detailed commentary that focuses on questions of medical and scientific method; the introduction sets out a new approach to the problem of the works relationship to its intellectual context and addresses the contentious issues of its date, authorship, and reception. The book will be of interest to scholars of ancient medicine and ancient philosophy, as well as anyone concerned with the history of science and scientific method in antiquity.

Excerpt

With minor exceptions, the Greek text printed here is that of Jacques Jouanna (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1990). I have made no attempt to produce a critical edition; the apparatus indicates only the few places where I have thought it desirable to deviate from Jouanna's text, and the reader must consult his edition for a full apparatus and account of the manuscript evidence. Here it will suffice to note that the main authorities are M (Marcianus gr. 269, 10th century AD) and A (Parisinus gr. 2253, nth century AD). While older editions tended to privilege A, careful analysis reveals that neither manuscript is consistently superior; thus each must be given equal weight in deciding on the reading in particular passages (Jouanna 1990, 85–93). The translation aims at clarity and faithfulness to the original rather than elegance; in general all translations are my own unless otherwise indicated. The Commentary is mainly concerned with issues of medical and scientific method; questions of textual criticism are discussed only insofar as they bear on the interpretation of the author's argument. For each chapter the Commentary contains an introductory note that begins with a summary of the chapter's contents, as well as specific notes keyed to particular passages in the text by lemmas in both Greek and English. These lemmatic comments are chiefly intended to offer supporting evidence for the claims made in the introductory notes; I have, however, tried to provide enough cross references so that the reader can use them as a guide to particular passages. The Commentary aims at completeness in the citation and presentation of evidence, especially on questions of terminology. This is justified by the radical claims that have sometimes been made on the basis of the author's use of certain terms; I hope that it will also make the work of value to future writers of commentaries on other Hippocratic texts. The Introduction offers an account of the argument of VM as a whole, attempts to place the work in its intellectual context, and addresses the general issues of its date, reception, and authorship; it naturally draws heavily on the analyses presented in the individual Commentary chapters. Finally, the two Appendices explore some of . . .

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