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How to Read a Medical Prescription

Abstract

A major problem facing historians of modern medicine is the question of the connection between theory and practice. The Cairo Geniza provides a unique window into this topic in the form of medical prescriptions. This essay explains what a medical prescription is and describes how to analyze fragments identified as prescriptions. This explanation is followed by an example, T-S Ar.30.305, one of the best-preserved prescriptions, that is transcribed, translated, and discussed.

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Change history

  • 11 December 2019

    Figures 1 and 2 should have been published in the above-mentioned article. The omitted figures and figure captions appear on the next pages.

    <Emphasis Type="Italic">Figure 1</Emphasis>. Cambridge University Library T-S Ar 30.305 recto. Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.

    <Emphasis Type="Italic">Figure 2</Emphasis>. Cambridge University Library T-S Ar 30.305 verso. Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.

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Correspondence to Leigh Chipman.

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Chipman, L. How to Read a Medical Prescription. JEW HIST 32, 487–492 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10835-019-09323-5

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Keywords

  • Pharmacy
  • Geniza
  • Materia medica
  • Prescriptions
  • Premodern medicine