Accepted paper:

Transfer of knowledge among Jewish medieval practitioners - medical notebooks from the Cairo Genizah

Authors:

Efraim Lev (University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel)

Paper short abstract:

Medical notebooks found in the Cairo Genizah that comprise a unique source of historical data for scholarly study and for a better understanding of the ways in which medical knowledge in medieval Egypt was transferred from theory to practice and vice versa.

Paper long abstract:

Medical notebooks found in the Cairo Genizah that comprise a unique source of historical data for scholarly study and for a better understanding of the ways in which medical knowledge in medieval Egypt was transferred from theory to practice and vice versa. These documents provide the most direct evidence we have for preferred practical medical recipes because they record the choices of medical practitioners in medieval Cairo. Since the language most commonly used in them was Judaeo-Arabic, they were evidently written by Jews. The medical genre in the notebooks was primarily pharmacopoeic, consisting of apparently original recipes for the treatment of various diseases. There are also a few notebooks on materia medica. The subject matter of the Genizah medical notebooks shows that they were mostly of an eclectic nature, i.e. the writers had probably learnt about these treatments and prescriptions from their teachers, applied them at the hospitals where they worked, or copied them from the books they read. Foremost among the subjects dealt with were eye diseases, followed by skin diseases, coughs and colds, dentistry and oral hygiene, and gynaecological conditions.

panel P23
Medical knowledge in motion: exchange, transformation and iteration in the medical traditions of the Late Antique Mediterranean world