We remember that he lived successively in Spain, in Morocco, and in Egypt; such migrations were then the lot of many physicians, Jewish ones in particular. Maimonides wrote a glossary of drugs,2 in which he used an impressive number of languages. It is well known that the same medicinal plant often appeared under different names, sometimes even in the same language. An Sorafenib accomplished physician was therefore Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical supposed to be knowledgeable in these matters. In his commentary on the first aphorism of Hippocrates, Maimonides issues a statement that may seem daring or even impossible to the modern reader. He contends that a student physician
should memorize the huge corpus of theoretical and practical medicine. This does not only necessitate long and tedious work, it means that the physician will have to perform constant revision throughout his medical career. The next stage in Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical medical education is personal experience of treating the sick,
which includes experience in diagnosis, in prognosis, and in the ways of prescribing drugs and adequate diet. In one of his letters to a former student,3 Maimonides stated that in the evening, after a busy day, he reviewed the writings that dealt with the diseases he had treated during the day. Such a critical review and checking of one’s memory was definitely a requisite way in striving Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical toward perfection. Incidentally, it is known that Maimonides Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical regularly reviewed his theological writings, his Mishneh Torah in particular, till late in his life. Let us now turn to Galen (131–201 CE). Most of Galen’s extensive works had been translated into Syriac and Arabic by unain ibn Yisaq and others; some of them only survived in their Arabic translation. A compendium of these writings, known as the Sixteen Books of Galen, was since Byzantine times in wide circulation. In his commentary to Plato’s Timaeus (preserved in its Arabic translation only),5 Galen declares that it is beyond human beings’ capability to achieve perfection in the knowledge and in the expertise of the medical art. This Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical statement will be adamantly
opposed by Maimonides, as we shall see further. In another work, admittedly not written by Galen himself, entitled On Definitions, we read: “The perfect [Gr. téleios] physician is one who has completed the whole scheme of theoretical and practical studies.” The author does not assert that perfection is beyond Carnitine palmitoyltransferase II human reach. The next sentence reads: “The best [Gr. aristos; Lat. optimus] physician is the one who practices medicine according to the right doctrine [Gr. orthon lógon].” (On the Greek word téleios, and on Ps.-Galen’s Definitiones Medicae, see Reference 6.) There is, however, no detailed definition of “orthodox” medicine. This phrase intended most probably to exclude superstition, magic, and quackery. Galen was, then and there, together with Avicenna and Rhazes, the main source of medical learning, for Maimonides as well as for his contemporaries.