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The Teaching Of Surgery

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Chapter Summary

For the Greeks, the quest for a 'first discoverer' or 'inventor' was a common intellectual pursuit, and it was common to classify thinkers in master-pupil relationships. Traditions of Chiron the centaur, just and wise culture-hero and educator, can be related to these twin tendencies. Chiron was first to teach not only medicine but many other technai. This chapter examines the widespread and enduring tradition that Asclepius was taught medicine by Chiron, with whom he had a quasi-filial relationship. On the basis of language used by the Hippocratic writers, especially in the deontological and surgical works, some deductions are made about methods of and attitudes to teaching and learning. The nature of Hippocratic surgery is discussed and two types of surgical treatise are distinguished. Finally, these questions are addressed: who wrote and for whom; why, when and where?.

Keywords: Asclepius; Chiron; deontological; Greek; Hippocratic writers; medicine; quasi-filial relationship; surgery; surgical treatise; teaching



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