Jewish medicine

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Jewish medicine is medical practice of the Jewish people, including writing in the languages of both Hebrew and Arabic.
28% of nobel prize winners in medicine have been Jewish, although Jews comprise less than 0.2% of the world's population.[1]



There are no extant texts of ancient medicine, as a first subject, of Hebrew origin.[2] There was no medicine distinctly Jewish and instead Jewish practitioners had adopted Greek and later Graeco-Roman knowledge as practice.[3]

Up until the time of King Chizkiyahu (his reign being dated to approximately 2,500 y.a.), a text - Sefer Refuot ("The Book of Remedies") was composed and used extensively for at least 300 years until King Chizkiyahu's time.[4]

"...when a person became ill, he would follow what was written in "The Book of Remedies," and be healed. As a result, people's hearts were not humbled before Heaven because of illness. - Rashi'"[5]

It has been recorded of in the Babylonian Talmud twice, and the baraita.[6][7]

In the time of the New Testament the person acting as a physician was as much about healing the soul as the body. Apostolic healing is claimed to have occurred where-by people are thought to have been healed by miracles, in the same vien as Jesus of Nazareth who was claimed to have healed the sick by miracles also, going so far as to have raised a man from the dead.[8]

Osler refers to St. Luke (practicing in the 1st century [9]) as our great colleague, and as a Physician, stating that he had some degree of science in his practice, although not like Hipppocrates "nor even of a scientifically trained contemporary of Dioscorides".

Middle Ages[edit]

Barqây instead states The Book of Remedies to be attributed to Asaph the Jew, (a Mesopotamian according to Garrisons History of Medicine in Rosner and Muntner [10]), and written sometime during the seventh and or eighth centuries (according to H. Muntner et al) and as such is the earliest extant Hebrew text. The text comprises four parts; a story of the transmission of medicine from God to mankind, a medical survey généralement, a Materia medica and a list of medical aphorisms.

Advances were made in the study of female orientated medicine during this period.[11]

Jewish scholars translated many early works from Arabic into Hebrew during this time. Practitioners learnt exclusively via apprenticeships or otherwise self-taught.[12]

According to one statistical source, Jewish persons were in some cases the dominant number of practitioners within certain societies of this period.[13]

The 17th century[edit]

The first organized study of Biblical medicine began during the 17th century.[14]

20th century[edit]

According to AM. Kraut practitioners don't see any division between faith and medicine.[15]

The famous doctor Sigmund Freud was Jewish by birth.[16] Abraham Maslow was born to Russian Jewish parents during 1908.[17]

The feast day of St Luke,the patron saint of physicians, surgeons and pharmacists is the 26th of September.[18] [19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ H Friedenwald - The Bibliography of Ancient Hebrew Medicine - Bull Med Libr Assoc >v.23(3); Jan 1935 >PMC234187 Retrieved 2012-12-20
  3. ^ GB Ferngren- Medicine and Health Care in Early Christianity JHU Press, 15 Apr 2009 ISBN 0801891426 Retrieved 2012-12-21
  4. ^ Jewish History website Retrieved 2012-12-20
  5. ^ Retrieved 2012-12-20
  6. ^ DJ. Halperin - The Jewish Quarterly Review New Series, Vol. 72, No. 4 (Apr., 1982), pp. 269-292 The "Book of Remedies," the Canonization of the Solomonic Writings, and the Riddle of Pseudo-Eusebius Retrieved 2012-12-20
  7. ^ definotion of baraita - and mishnah- Retrieved 2012-12-20
  8. ^ Osler, Sir William - The Evolution of Modern Medicine Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library Retrieved 2012-12-20
  9. ^ GB Ferngrenas
  10. ^ F ROSNER, and S MUNTNER [1] Retrieved 2102-12-27
  11. ^ Rôn Barqây - History of Jewish Gynecological Texts in the Middle Ages BRILL, 1998 - ISBN 9004109951 Retrieved 2012-12-20
  12. ^ RC RABIN - Tracing the Path of Jewish Medical Pioneers nytimes Retrieved 2012-12-20
  13. ^ J Shatzmiller - Jews, Medicine, and Medieval Society University of California Press, 1994 ISBN 0520080599
  14. ^ Friedenwald
  15. ^ RC RABIN
  16. ^ Arnold D. Richards - The Jewish World of Sigmund Freud: Essays on Cultural Roots and the Problem of Religious Identity McFarland, 25 Jan 2010 ISBN 078644424X Retrieved 2012-12-20
  17. ^ Dr S D Kunin, JMiles-Watson - Theories of Religion: A Reader Rutgers University Press, 25 Sep 2006 Retrieved 2012-12-20
  18. ^ PG. Jestice - Holy People of the World: A Cross-Cultural Encyclopedia ABC-CLIO, 2004 Retrieved 2012-12-21
  19. ^ DS Armentrout, RB Slocum An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church: A User-Friendly Reference for Episcopalians Church Publishing, Inc., 1999 Retrieved 2012-12-21

External links[edit]