Practical Knowledge and Medical Practice in Ancient Mediterranean Cultures

02.11.2015 - 03.11.2015
Reduction of a dislocated mandible. Illustration in a 10th-century MS of Apollonius of Citium's Commentary on the Hippocratic On Joints, Biblioteca Medicea ‒ Laurenziana, Florence. Wellcome Library, London (cropped)

Reduction of a dislocated mandible. Illustration in a 10th-century MS of Apollonius of Citium's Commentary on the Hippocratic On Joints, Biblioteca Medicea ‒ Laurenziana, Florence. Wellcome Library, London (cropped)

International conference organised by the project A03 “The Transfer of Medical Episteme in the ‘Encyclopaedic’ Compilations of Late Antiquity” (Heads: Prof. Dr. Philip van der Eijk, Prof. Dr. Markham J. Geller)
   

To focus this meeting on the theme of Medical Practice will serve as a reminder that – whatever elaborate theories ancient experts might have held – this was not all that mattered in the day-to-day needs of their profession. Given the paucity of written evidence and archaeological remains, we tend to know more about the intellectual underpinnings of ancient medicine than about actual medical procedures. Since theory and practice were of equal importance in the constitution and transmission of medical knowledge, it is worthwhile to try and tease out whatever infor­ma­tion is available about the reality of medical treatments. The conference presentations will address the different healing practices (diagnosis, bloodletting, surgery and other forms of treat­ment, including incantations) and the ways in which this practical medical knowledge was gained and transferred via experts, institutions and procedures. The multi-perspective and comparative approach to Mesopotamian, Greek, Byzantine, Jewish-Talmudic, Chinese, Persian and Syriac medical traditions will help to sharpen the understanding of practical medicine in the Medi­terranean across different periods and in varying socio-cultural contexts.

Admission is free. For organisa­tional reasons participants are kindly requested to register – please contact: lennart.lehmhaus@fu-berlin.de

The conference is organised by Christine F. Salazar (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), Lennart Lehmhaus (Freie Universität Berlin), Franziska Desch (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin/TOPOI-BerGSAS). 
  

Programme

Monday, 2 November 2015

Venue: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Institut für Klassische Philologie, Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin-Mitte, Marmorsaal, Room 2249a

9.30 a.m.
Registration

Session I: 10 a.m.–12 o'clock

Conference Opening / Welcome by Philip van der Eijk

Karl-Heinz Leven (Erlangen):
“…auch die Ärzte konnten zunächst nicht helfen” – Pest-Therapien in der Antike und in byzantinischer Zeit

12.30
Lunch break

Session II: 2.15–4.50 p.m.

Matteo Martelli (Berlin):
Recipes and therapies ascribed to the prophet Esdras in the Byzantine and Syriac tradition

Short break

Dan Levene (Southampton):
Interdigitation of heterodox and orthodox in the living medical tradition of Ethiopia – stimulating thoughts about earlier Near Eastern magico-medical traditions

4.50 p.m.
Afternoon tea at Foyer Marmorsaal

Session III: 6–7.30 p.m. – Keynote Lecture

Venue: Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften Einstein-Saal, Jägerstraße 22–23, 5th floor

Welcome address and Introductory words

Ralph Jackson (British Museum, London):
Medical Instruments in Late Antiquity: Continuity and Change
    


Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Venue: Freie Universität Berlin, TOPOI-Haus, Hittorfstraße 18, 14195 Berlin-Dahlem, Vortragssaal

9.15 a.m.
Morning coffee at TOPOI-Wintergarten

  
9.45 a.m.

Gyburg Uhlmann (Berlin):
Welcome address by on behalf of SFB 980
  

Session I: 10–10.45 a.m.

Strahil V. Panayotov (Berlin):
What do we know about Mesopotamian surgery – and what would we like to know?


Short break
 

Session II: 11.15 a.m.–12.15 p.m. – Keynote lecture

Nils P. Heeßel (Würzburg):
The domiciliary visit of the Babylonian healer – what do we actually know about the practical side of Babylonian diagnostics?

Lunch at TOPOI-House

Session III: 1.45–3 p.m.

Ronit Yoeli-Tlalim (London):
On the practice of bloodletting in the Hebrew medical work Sefer Asaf

Lennart Lehmhaus (Berlin):
“Red for Red” – bloodletting between medicine and lifestyle in Talmudic sources
   

Coffee break

Session IV: 3.30–5 p.m.

Shulamit Ch. Shinnar (New York):
Rabbinic Techniques for Examining Parturient Tissue: Considering the Place of Graeco-Roman Medical Traditions within the Rabbinic Textual Corpus

Stefanie M. Rudolf (Berlin):
The Syriac Medicine man – medical science according to Bar Bahlul
  

4.45 p.m.
Concluding remarks by Markham J. Geller

High Tea – Refreshments

Session V: 6.15–7.45 p.m. – Keynote lecture

Paul U. Unschuld (Charité Berlin):
What Is (Chinese) Medicine?
      


Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Venue: Freie Universität Berlin, TOPOI-Haus, Hittorfstraße 18, 14195 Berlin-Dahlem, Kaminzimmer

9.30 a.m.
Coffee at TOPOI-House

10 a.m.–2.30 p.m.
Workshop “Practical Medicine in Jewish Scriptures and Adjacent Cultures”

Chair: Franziska Desch (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

     



The conference is funded by the Collaborative Research Center 980 “Episteme in Motion” and supported by the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation and the “Zentrum Grundlagenforschung Alte Welt” of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities.