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Medicine And Theology

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Chapter Summary

As for physicians, in their own works, with the exception of some audacious transgressors, like Pietro dAbano, or in a quite different manner, Arnald of Villanova, they avoided dealing with theological issues, and they tried to expand their field without crossing too far beyond the authorized limits. Parisian university masters liked to repeat one sentence drawn from Aristotles On sense and sensation : ubi desinit physicus, incipit medicus. By repeating this sentence, they intended to distinguish their field from that of the natural philosopher while indicating the continuity between both. In a kind of paraphrase of this sentence, the author would suggest that in the Middle Ages ubi incipit theologus, ibi desinit medicus. This chapter recalls the main topics on which medieval physicians had to restrain the possibilities offered by medical explanations. The crucial point was, of course, the link between mind and body.

Keywords: Aristotle; medical explanations; medieval physicians; natural philosopher; theological issues



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