IMC 2012: Sessions

Session 513: Reception and Condemnation of Rules in Medical and Physical Rules

Tuesday 10 July 2012, 09.00-10.30

Moderator/Chair:Wendy J. Turner, Department of History, Anthropology & Philosophy, Augusta State University, Georgia
Paper 513-aThe Ever-Lasting Rules of Death?: The Reception and Adaptation of the Pseudo-Hyppocratic Capsula Eburnea in German Medical Literature
(Language: English)
Chiara Benati, Università degli Studi di Genova
Index terms: Language and Literature - German, Medicine
Paper 513-bLa condena del sistema físico aristotélico en el Syllabus de 1277
(Language: Español)
Ana María Carmen Minecan, Department of the History of Philosophy, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Index terms: Philosophy, Science, Teaching the Middle Ages
Paper 513-cLicit Medicine or Pythagorean Necromancy?: The Legal Context of the 'Sphere of Life and Death' in Late Medieval England
(Language: English)
Joanne Edge, Department of History, Royal Holloway, University of London
Index terms: Canon Law, Medicine, Science

Paper -a:
The so-called Capsula eburnea (also known as Secreta Hippocratis, Analogius Hippocratis or Prognostica Democriti) is a late antique short treatise dealing with cutaneous eruptions as prognostic signs, which enjoyed wide popularity throughout the Middle Ages. In Europe, this collection of prognostic rules has come down to us in Old French, Middle English, Dutch, High and Low German versions.
In this paper, I’ll concentrate on the reception of the text within both the High and the Low German language areas, where the Capsula eburnea was repeatedly translated, adapted and integrated into larger medical compendia, such as Ortolf von Baierland’s Arzneibuch or the Düdeschen Arstedie.

Paper -b:
This paper deals with the analysis of five fundamental principles of Aristotelian physical system contained in Etienne Tempier’s condemnations of 1277: Eternity of the world, collected in 47 of the 219 convictions, the non vacuum collected in the sentence 49 (66), the finitude of the world, collected in the convictions 147(17) and 29 (26), the uniqueness of the world in the sentence 34 (27) and the necessitarianism reflected in the sentence number 21 (102). The goal of this paper is to present a pivotal moment in the process of assimilation of Aristotelian physics texts in the Western Europe paying attention to the points of collision with Christian orthodoxy and to the solutions offered by the main thinkers who attempted its integration.

Paper -c:
The Sphere is an onomancy – a divinatory device claiming to predict life or death by taking the letters of a patient’s name, adding together their numerical values, adding astrological data, and dividing by 30 (or 29) to reach a remainder which gives the answer.

Divination was condemned in the Middle Ages as it usurped divine providence and the idea of free will, and the use of a Sphere was specifically censured in Gratian’s Decretum. But we also know that learned physicians were interested in, and probably used the Sphere. I will demonstrate the reasons for this paradox by providing an overview of canon law on divination, a summary of the unique history of the Sphere, and an examination of the manuscript context of several of these devices.