Systems of Classification in Premodern Medical Cultures Sickness, Health, and Local Epistemologies
Systems of Classification in Premodern Medical Cultures puts historical disease concepts in cross-cultural perspective, investigating perceptions, constructions and experiences of health and illness from antiquity to the seventeenth century.
Focusing on the systematisation and classification of illness in its multiple forms, manifestations and causes, this volume examines case studies ranging from popular concepts of illness through to specialist discourses on it. Using philological, historical and anthropological approaches, the contributions cover perspectives across time from East Asian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cultures, spanning ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece and Rome to Tibet and China. They aim to capture the multiplicity of disease concepts and medical traditions within specific societies, and to investigate the historical dynamics of stability and change linked to such concepts.
Providing useful material for comparative research, the volume is a key resource for researchers studying the cultural conceptualisation of illness, including anthropologists, historians and classicists, among others.
List of figures
List of tables
List of contributors
List of abbreviations
Introduction: sickness, cultural classifications and local epistemologies
ULRIKE STEINERT (IN CONSULTATION WITH ELISABETH HSU)
PART I Disease concepts and healing: new approaches to knowledge and practice in premodern medical texts and traditions
1 Distinctive issues in the history of medicine in antiquity
GEOFFREY E. R. LLOYD
2 How to read a recipe? Working backwards from the prescription to the complaint
3 Experiencing the dead in ancient Egyptian healing texts
PART II Disease classifications in premodern medical texts and traditions from the Near East, Mediterranean and East Asia
4 Types of diagnoses in Papyrus Ebers and Smith
5 Ancient Egyptian prescriptions for the back and abdomen and their Mesopotamian and Mediterranean counterparts
6 Disease concepts and classifications in ancient Mesopotamian medicine
7 Classification of illnesses in the Hippocratic Corpus
8 The delicacy of the rabbinic asthenes: sickness, weakness or self-indulgence?
9 The Paradise of Wisdom: streams of tradition in the first medical encyclopaedia in Arabic
10 The Tree of Nosology in Tibetan medicine
PART III Mental illness in ancient medical systems
11 Disturbing disorders: reconsidering the problem of ‘mental diseases’ in ancient Mesopotamia
M. ERICA COUTO-FERREIRA
12 Classification, explanation and experience: mental disorder in Graeco-Roman antiquity
PETER N. SINGER
Appendix 1: the ‘Five Twig Powder’ and four of its variants
Appendix 2: composition of the polypharmacies
"One clear hope for this volume is that by bringing together scholars from medical anthropology, the history of medicine, and the philosophy of medicine, even if the cross-disciplinary dialogue is just beginning, the questions opened up by the book as a whole will give us increasing opportunities to expand the conversation in ways that will make this material and these concerns more coherent going forward. Steinert and the authors of these individual chapters are to be heartily applauded for the effort." - Bryn Mawr Classical Review