Holism in Ancient Medicine and Its Reception


This volume aims at exploring the ancient roots of ‘holistic’ approaches in the specific field of medicine and the life sciences, without, however, overlooking the larger theoretical implications of these discussions. Therefore, the project plans to broaden the perspective to include larger cultural discussions and, in a comparative spirit, reach out to some examples from non Graeco-Roman medical cultures. As such, it constitutes a fundamental contribution to history of medicine, philosophy of medicine, cultural studies, and ancient studies more broadly. The wide-ranging selection of chapters offers a comprehensive view of an exciting new field: the interrogation of ancient sources in the light of modern concepts in philosophy of medicine, as justification of the claim for their enduring relevance as object of study and, at the same time, as means to a more adequate contextualisation of modern debates within a long historical process.

Contributors are: Hynek Bartoš, Sean Coughlin, Elizabeth Craik, Brooke Holmes, Helen King, Giouli Korobili, David Leith, Vivian Nutton, Julius Rocca, William Michael Short, P. N. Singer, Konstantinos Stefou, Chiara Thumiger, Laurence Totelin, Claire Trenery, John Wee, Francis Zimmermann.

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Chiara Thumiger, Ph.D. (2004), Habil. (2017) is a Research Fellow at the Cluster of Excellence Roots at Kiel University. She is a classicist and historian of medicine. She has worked on a variety of medical themes and authors from the Hippocratic Corpus to the late-antique world and beyond – most recently on the ancient disease phrenitis. She has also published on tragedy, ancient animals and history of emotions.
Notes on Contributors
Chiara Thumiger

Part 1: Holism: Methodological and Theoretical Perspectives

1 Holism, Parts, Wholes
Chiara Thumiger

2 Holism, Sympathy, and the Living Being in Ancient Greek Medicine and Philosophy
Brooke Holmes

3 ‘Holism’ in Cognitive Approaches to the Ancient Emotions
William Michael Short

Part 2: Is Graeco-Roman Medicine Holistic?

4 Hippocratic Holisms
Hynek Bartoš

5 Holism and the Methodists
David Leith

6 Is Graeco-Roman Medicine Holistic? Galen and Ancient Medical-Philosophical Debates
P. N. Singer

7 Holism of Body and Mind in Hippocratic Medicine and Greek Tragedy
Elizabeth Craik

8 Plato’s Charmides on Philosophy as Holistic Medical Practice
Giouli Korobili and Konstantinos Stefou

9 A Woman in Flux: Fluidity in Hippocratic Gynaecology
Laurence M. V. Totelin

10 Cohesive Causes in Ancient Greek Philosophy and Medicine
Sean Coughlin

11 Pneuma as a Holistic Concept in Galen
Julius Rocca

Part 3: Medical Holism beyond the Graeco-Roman World

12 Humoralism in Āyurvedic Medicine
Francis Zimmermann

13 A Systemic Etiology of Sicknesses from Ancient Iraq: Organ Systems and the Functional Holism of the Babylonian Body
John Z. Wee

14 Epidemic Disease in a Humoral Environment: From Airs, Waters and Places to the Renaissance
Vivian Nutton

15 Mind-Body Interaction: The Influence of Ancient Ideas in Twelfth-Century England
Claire Trenery

16 ‘Treating the Patient, Not Just the Disease’: Reading Ancient Medicine in Modern Holistic Medicine
Helen King

Index Rerum
Index Locorum
Index Nominum
Historians of ancient medicine, philosophy and science; scholars in history and philosophy of medicine. In addition, cultural historians of the ancient world and students from a variety of courses– from medicine and history of medicine, to philosophy, history, classics, cultural studies, and anthropology.
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