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Textual Therapy. On The Relationship Between Medicine And Grammar In Galen

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores some ancient ideas about the relationship of grammar and medicine. There are two grounds for expecting that the great doctor-philologist Galen would talk of (deficient) texts in terms of patients to be healed. One is the ancient grammatical tradition classifying medicine and grammar as sister disciplines. The other is extensive tradition of using biological and medical metaphors for language and texts. However, it will turn out that medical overtones are significantly absent from Galen's rhetoric about philology and from his own linguistic metalanguage. Instead of comparing the remedying and corrective activities of the doctor and textual critic, he connects medicine with weaving and architecture. The chapter seeks an explanation for this state of affairs in Galen's general anxiety to be taken for a philologist or grammarian rather than a serious doctor. This may have led to a refusal to dignify grammar by applying medical terminology to it.

Keywords: Galen; grammar; linguistic metalanguage; medical metaphors; medical terminology; medicine; patients; philologist; textual therapy



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