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The Identification Of Materia Medica In The Genizah And Method Of Presenting The Data

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Chapter Summary

Identification of medicinal substances mentioned in medieval sources in general, and in Genizah fragments in particular, is one of the most problematic and complex issues in the field of history of medicine and pharmacology. First, the texts are casual and deal with the daily life of the Genizah people and not literary, so the writing is not bound by accepted rules of orthography. Moreover, identifying this material was and remains problematic, even in the professional medical literature. Each substance, regardless of origin-animal, plant, inorganic, or some kind of combination-had different names in different languages, according to its geographic origin or ethnic background. Another problematic issue in identification of medicinal substances in the Genizah and other medieval sources is their systematic categorization. The identification was accomplished by analysis of the text and the context, and by comparison with medieval medical literature, namely the dictionaries of names of materia medica.

Keywords:Genizah fragments; materia medica; medical literature; medicinal substances; medicine; orthography



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