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Hippocratic Writings (Classics) Paperback – 24 Nov 1983

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (24 Nov. 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140444513
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140444513
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 294,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Hippocrates (460 BC- 377 BC) became known as the founder of medicine and was regarded as the greatest physician of his time. He based his medical practice on observations and on the study of the human body. He founded a medical school on the island of Kos, Greece and began teaching his ideas. He soon developed an Oath of Medical Ethics for physicians to follow; this Oath is taken by physicians today as they begin their medical practice.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The father of modern medicine: it always surprises me just how much was known so many centuries ago. An interesting book and easy to read. Recommended for all students and practitioners in the health professions.
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By Marie P. Byrom on 11 Dec. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Enjoyable reading but was not as interesting as I had hoped it would be
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 11 reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Taste of Ancient Western Medicine 10 Jun. 2003
By John - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This work is a sampling of the Hippocratic Corpus, a collection of ancient Greek medical works. Hippocrates himself may have written some, but certainly not all, of the texts. The collection spans centuries and contains slightly differing views. This makes for a fuller picture of ancient Greek medicine. As one reads through the book, the reader gets a real sense of the medical theories and "facts" of the time. A majority of Hippocratic Writings is concerned with internal medicine and diseases. At the beginning, and interspersed throughout, there are discussions on the philosophy of being a physician. There is a large section about how to treat limb fractures, and the section called The Nature of Man describes the physiological theories of the time. The book ends with a discussion of embryology and a brief anatomical description of the heart. The work is not too difficult to read and seems to be very well translated. The large introduction to the book serves well to place the setting of the book and understand a bit of the translation. A Glossary of Names appears in the back. This seems to serve more as an academic reference as it is not necessary to refer to it as one reads the book. Along with the general index, there is the Supplementary Index to Medical Treatises. This index lists instances within Hippocratic Writings that, in the context of current medical knowledge, describes some now more commonly known medical conditions and diseases. Some knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and ancient Greek scientific philosophy are helpful in reading the book.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
interesting to browse through 18 Sept. 2011
By Howard Schulman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
When I came upon this book I had no idea that so much of Hippocrates' writings survived. So many other ancient Greek writers survive only in fragments. I was blown away that this book contained over 300 pages of ancient Greek text, and even more text survives not contained in this book.

One can actually read and get some insight into how physicians in ancient Greece were trained and how they thought about healthcare. Having said that and having read through the entire book, I can confidently say that large parts of the book don't make a "good read", being either repetitive or obsessed with certain observations or ideas that the writer is trying to prove.

I have a hard time imagining anyone other than a physician with 10+ years of experience (this author) or a determined scholar trying to slog through the texts and getting something out of it. There are not a lot of areas where a modern day physician can read Hippocrates to gain wisdom into current day healthcare. There are definitely a few, but they are pretty well buried and no longer than a sentence or two.

It may take some thought to realize this, but Hippocrates' writings were probably so important because they are such an extensive listing of healthcare issues. Almost all of what Hipporates has to say about why things are the way there are is wrong, but he is pretty good, at least, when it comes to observation and writing down what he sees. The section on embryology, all observational, was fairly amazing.

Keep in mind that much of what ancient physicians did was tell people if they were going to get better or not, so in this respect, the book was good in informing the ancient physician, and in this area, I did get a feeling that Hippocrates did convey some still relevant observations. Treatment was less of an issue, though there was a section on broken bones, setting them, which I found difficult to read, though an orthopedic surgeon reading this section may get more out of it.

Lastly, (FYI) even though the writings in this edition are attributed to Hippocrates, no one is sure that he wrote any of them. The writings may just be from his school or followers. Thankfully, it was a good, very readable translation.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Review of Penguin's Hippocratic Writings 3 Mar. 2010
By Ryan Mease - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a great collection of Hippocratic writings. After 350 pages or so, the reader has a strong sense of ancient Greek medicine. To be honest, the material is often incredible boring, but this is a matter of the original subject matter, not the translation. For example, there are often lists and lists of plague victims or very specific medical aphorisms. Occasional footnotes supplement the readings. The introduction is well-done.
14 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Ancient Book that Remains Relevant 21 Oct. 2006
By Eagle Eye - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For a book compiled in the 4th/3rd centuries B.C. it is interesting (but not surprising) how relevant this book remains, for sickness and the effort to heal are enduring aspects of the human condition.

"The Oath" at the beginning sets out some basic precepts, including: "I will not give a fatal draught to anyone if I am asked, nor will I suggest such a thing. Neither will I give a woman means to procure an abortion." "I will be chaste and religious in my life and in my practice."

There is an interesting idea here about the link between cooking and medicine. Early humans realized that they could not eat the same raw/uncooked foods as animals without getting sick, so they started cooking and making their diet more palatable in order to improve their health.

Some things have clearly changed: "Although the art of healing is the most noble of all the arts, yet, because of the ignorance both of its professors and of their rash critics, it has at this time fallen into the least repute of them all."

The greater significance of this work is as a contribution to science; a triumph of empiricism over superstition, the notion that logical observation could be brought to bear on healing rather than a primary reliance on folk medicine or strange ritual.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
liked it 9 Feb. 2014
By Jasmine Skinner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Almost finished the book. Even though I got this book for a class, it still is an interesting read. Teaches about old medicine practices. (very detailed, good translation.)
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