This book deals with the work of one of the most famous medical scholars of the middle ages, renowned to his contemporaries as being able to see more deeply into the theory of medicine than anyone else. It is based in particular on an analysis of his huge commentary on Avicenna's
Canon, the biggest and most important single medical text of the Middle Ages. This is the first modern analysis of the commentary, and while the size and elaborate scholastic structure of it has deterred historians, it remained an important text for two centuries. This book explains the nature and purposes of medical scholasticism, which reached its height in the half century before the Black Death, in which Gentile died.
Medical ethics has been a constant adjunct of Western medicine from its origins in Greek times. Although the
Hippocratic Oath has been intensely studied, until recently there has been very little historical work on medical ethics between the
Oath and Thomas Percival's
Medical Ethics of 1803, which is commonly thought of as the first treatise on modern medical ethics. This volume brings together original research which throws new light on how standards of behaviour for medical practitioners were articulated in the different religious, political and social as well as medical contexts from the classical period until the nineteenth century. Its ten essays will place the early history of medical ethics into the framework of the new social and intellectual history of medicine that has been developed in the last ten years.