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The purpose of the present essay is to throw light on the process of generating the materia medica in China. Western forms of medical pluralism led to the appearance of the first known materia medica in approximately the 4th century BC. In the East, by contrast, the emergence of a materia medicacan merely be localized to a period certainly no later than the 2nd century AD. Thus, existing theories suggest a gap of more than five centuries between the evolution of the materia medica in each of the two hemispheres. This gap, the author suspects, is much too large. The study shows that one can track four lineages of material medica in the transmitted literature of the Han period. However, each lineage appears to be an upgraded form of materia medica. Thus, the emergence of a materia medica must have antedated these four lineages. The author concludes that it is precisely this multiple reproduction of a materia medica that reflects the human interest in establishing and consolidating an infrastructure for health care. L'objet de cet essai est d'éclairer le processus d'élaboration des materia medica en Chine. Les formes occidentales de pluralisme médi cal ont conduit à l'apparition des premières materia medica connues approximativement au ive siècle avant notre ère. En Extrême-Orient, en revanche, l'émergence d'une materia medica ne peut être située que dans une période qui ne doit pas être postérieure au iie siècle de notre ère. En d'autres termes, les théories existantes suggèrent un décalage de plus de cinq siècles entre l'évolution des materia medica dans l'un et l'autre hémisphère. Ce décalage, pense l'auteur, est beaucoup trop grand. La présente étude montre que l'on peut retracer quatre lignées de materia medica dans les textes des Han qui nous ont été transmis. Or, chacune de ces lignées se présente comme une forme révisée de materia medica. L'émergence d'une materia medica doit donc être antérieure à ces quatre lignées. L'auteur conclut que cette reproduction multiple de materia medica reflète en fait l'intérêt humain pour établir et consolider une infrastructure sanitaire.

In: T'oung Pao
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Capital punishment has been carried out in Japan since ancient times. Although ancient Japan uniquely suspended executions for several centuries towards the end of the first millennium, today the death penalty is firmly established in Japan.
This volume explores the current state of capital punishment, the domestic discussion on the subject, and the influence of the political orientations of the governments of recent years.
The treatise is of current interest especially because of the Aum cult, whose leader Shoko Asahara is at present tried in Tokyo. If found guilty, he may be sentenced to death. After a three years' interval (between 1989 and 1993), Japan is nowadays undergoing a capital punishment "renaissance" with 39 executions between 1993 and 2000.