- Book Notes
The Alexandrian Epitomes of Galen, Vol. 1. A Parallel English-Arabic text. Translated, introduced, and annotated by John Walbridge. Islamic Translation Series, Brigham Young University Middle Eastern Medical Texts Initiative. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 2014. lxxiii + 297 pp. $69.95 (978-0-8425-2840-5).
In this volume, John Walbridge translates and examines three epitomes (or “study guides”; p. xix) of Galen written approximately 1,400 years ago: “On the Medical Sects for Beginners,” “The Small Art of Medicine,” and “On the Elements According to the Opinion of Hippocrates.” Unlike the original works of Galen, these texts include materials such as “lists, tables, and systemic categorizations of concepts, symptoms, diseases, and organs” (p. xix). The English and Arabic versions are presented here side by side. The author notes that the epitomes provide “an admirably clear, if sometimes tedious, survey of Galenism as it was understood at the very end of antiquity” (p. xix).
Gary B. Ferngren and Ekaterina N. Lomperis, eds. Essential Readings in Medicine and Religion. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017. xii + 278 pp. $32.95 (978-1-4214-2290-9).
The editors have put together this collection of annotated primary sources as a companion to Gary Ferngren’s Medicine and Religion: A Historical Introduction (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014). The editors note that their volume focuses on “the intersection of medicine and religion” and “covers the entire chronological sweep from ancient to modern” (p. ix). The eight chapters in this book mirror those in Medicine and Religion (The Ancient Near East, Greece, Rome, Early Christianity, The Middle Ages, Islam, The Early Modern Period, and The Nineteenth Through the Twenty-First Centuries) and include short introductions that provide historical context for each period discussed.
C. Pierce Salguero, ed. Buddhism and Medicine: An Anthology of Premodern Sources. New York: Columbia University Press, 2017. xxxvi + 689 pp. Ill. $150.00 (978-0-231-17994-2).
Buddhism and Medicine provides English-language translations of premodern Buddhist texts that exemplify the “very multifaceted nature of the historical relationship between Buddhism and healing” (p. xxii). The sixty-two chapters are divided into thematic sections: Doctrinal Considerations, Healing and Monastic Discipline, Buddhist Healers, Meditation as Cure and Illness, Hybridity in Buddhist Healing, and Buddhism in the Medical Traditions. Historians of medicine, [End Page 829] along with scholars of Buddhist studies, Asian languages, and Chinese religions, etc., provide introductions that contextualize the texts, which cover topics such as “nursing, hospice care, dietary regimen, and the compounding of medicines, to curative meditations, ritual healing, cultivation of magic powers, and the intervention of deities” (p. xxii).
The Editors [End Page 830]