275200 History of Medicine

Lecturer: Prof. Moshe Feinsod

Academic Credits: 2

Method of Teaching: Lectures

2 hours per week


The course will provide an introduction to the thought processes, tools and experiences of modern medical practice.

Schedule of Topics:

Lesson 1          The birth of systematic medicine: ancient medicine and its heritage (Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Persia).

Lesson 2          From Greek medicine to Hellenistic medicine: the beginning of scientific thinking.

Lesson 3          Greco-Roman medicine: Augustus Caesar organizes medical services, sanitary systems, water supply.

Lesson 4          Greco-Roman medicine: the great encyclopedists Dioscorides, Celsus and Pliny; Galen practice and thought; the fatal embrace.

Lesson 5          Medicine goes east: medicine in Byzantium and Iran; medicine in the Bible and the Talmud.

Lesson 6          The rise of Islamic medicine: preservation, development and dissipation of knowledge; Jews in Islamic medicine; medicine returns to Western Europe; Medical School of Salerno.

Lesson 7          The rise of universities: the educated physicians and surgeons; the public image of the physician. From the Black Death to AIDS: the role of epidemics in history; the responses to the challenge.

Lesson 8          The Renaissance: science and medicine dissociate from the rule of the Church; Vesalius and anatomical research: Harvey and the new physiology; the discovery of the New World and its influence; Jews in medicine during the Renaissance.

Lesson 9          The Enlightenment and its influence: science comes into medicine; the learned societies in France and Britain; Morgagni and the new anatomical pathology; The French Revolution and the rise of military medicine – Ambroise Paré, D.J. Larrey, Crimea, the Civil War, World War I; the changing concepts of ‘emergency medicine.’

Lesson 10        The introduction of instruments to medicine: the percussion hammer, the stethoscope, the thermometer, the sphygmomanometer; the microscope and the rise of cellular pathology.

Lesson 11        Development of 19th century medical schools and medical research: Magendie, Claude Bernard Emil Ludwig; the issue of vivisection; Pasteur and bacteriology and immunization; Lister and antisepsis; anesthesia and the new surgery.

Lesson 12        History of psychiatry and neurology: the Industrial Revolution and the ensuing “social diseases;” the development of Pediatrics.

Lesson 13        The development of pharmacology: the changing image and social role of the physician; eugenics.

Lesson 14        History of medicine in the land of Israel: discussion of issues raised by the students.