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November 7, 1986

The Medical Renaissance of the 16th Century

Author Affiliations

University of California San Francisco

JAMA. 1986;256(17):2418-2419. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380170134039

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Papers from a conference held at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University, in September 1983 constitute the core of this most informative work. Under the sponsorship of the Wellcome Trust and the British Academy, a number of prominent historians specializing in 16th-century medicine reviewed a number of key issues, including medical practice, surgery, education, pharmaceutical research, textual analysis, and reform movements. Although the presentations deliberately avoided dealing comprehensively with the entire historical period—the Vesalian and Harveian revolutions were not inluded—the book provides interested readers with a whole range of new information and insights.

We learn, for example, from Garcia Ballester about Morisco practitioners in Spain, while Palmer presents a vivid sketch of Venetian apothecaries. Medical teaching and research in Paris and Padua are described by Lonie and Cunningham, respectively. Other contributions focus on the "changing fortunes of a traditional text," the Canon of Avicenna, followed by Berengario da Carpi's anatomic teaching,