Dissertation: Jehuda ben Jakob, Hanhagat ha-Beri‘ut (Traktat zur Gesundheitslehre)

Jehuda ben Jakob, Hanhagat ha-Beri‘ut (Traktat zur Gesundheitslehre)

Kritische Edition, Übersetzung und Kommentar

Schriften zur Medizingeschichte, volume 4

Hamburg , 280 pages

ISBN 978-3-8300-7496-0 (print)
ISBN 978-3-339-07496-6 (eBook)

about this book deutsch english

The genre of the regimen sanitatis originated in the ancient world and gained great popularity in the Middle Ages as it offered answers to the question: what do I have to do in order to remain healthy? One example of a medieval regimen sanitatis is Judah ben Jacob’s text which is now being published for the first time. The author deals with the topic of a healthy lifestyle with reference to the so-called sex res non-naturales – six aspects of life on which people can exercise a certain amount of influence: their environment, diet, sleeping habits, physical exercise, handling of emotions and the evacuation/ purification of the body. In all of these areas, the supreme aim was to keep the body balanced according to the theory of the four bodily humors which dominated ancient medicine.

Judah ben Jacob was a Jewish author who wrote in Hebrew. Nevertheless, he is firmly rooted in the Greek and Roman tradition which had been adapted and handed down by Arab authors. Thus, his text is not only a good example of the teachings of medieval medicine but it also shows how these teachings were transmitted through the ages. Furthermore, it illustrates the special role Jews played in the process of transmission as a link between languages and cultures: The nine extant manuscripts of Judah ben Jacob’s text document not only the popularity of his book, but also the journey of his regimen across Europe.

The critical edition of the Hebrew text and a German translation make the text accessible for a wider public for the first time. An extensive introduction explores the medical concepts of the texts and its historical background.


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