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October 19, 1964

Censura et Cavilla

JAMA. 1964;190(3):253. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03070160077027

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To the Editor:—  In a recent "Critique and Cavil" item (JAMA189:216 [July 20] 1964) George X. Trimble, MD, states, "While we are on the Latin kick, check into 'Et Medici Cives,' `Unde Venis?' `Humani Nil Alienum,' `Non Sibi sed Medicinae,' and next-to-last but not least, `Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin'."For those of us who from our youth were raised in a culture that still regarded a working knowledge of the source book of Western morality and civilization equally as important as a knowledge of Latin, this confusion of Aramaic ("Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin") with Latin is a bit depressing.The exact meaning of these ancient words is lost in antiquity, for the ghostly writer on the wall neglected any vowel markings, and the words have stimulated almost as much speculation as the function of the lymphocyte.An enlightening exposition on these matters can be found in Daniel by

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