For the Benefit of Students: Memory and Anatomical Learning at Bologna in the Fourteenth to Early Sixteenth Centuries
- Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
- Oxford University Press
- Volume 75, Number 2, April 2020
- pp. 135-150
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The anatomical textbook in the late Middle Ages was one part of a greater pedagogical process that involved students' seeing, hearing, reading, and eventually knowing information about the human body. By examining the role of the anatomical textbook and accompanying bodily images in anatomical learning, this article illuminates the complexity and self-consciousness of anatomical education in the medieval university, as professors focused on ways to enhance student memory of the material. Traditionally, the history of anatomy has been heavily influenced by the anatomical Renaissance of the late-sixteenth century, highlighting a focus on innovative medical knowledge and the scientific method. However, if we engage a pedagogical lens when looking at these medieval authors, it becomes quickly obvious that the whole point of university medicine was not to explore unknown boundaries and discover new ideas of medicine, but rather to communicate the current and established body of knowledge to those not familiar with it.