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November 20, 1991

Hippocrates in a World of Pagans and Christians

Author Affiliations

Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Tex

Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Tex

JAMA. 1991;266(19):2761. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470190109044

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The old fabled dictum "Take me to your leader" is an excellent test of the essential character of human beings and human groups. Whenever individuals, professions, or societies recognize a specific person as their genuine leader, their own values, judgment, and worth are revealed distinctly. When we faithfully accept somebody as a role model and archetype, our acceptance speaks volumes.

In that light, we, the practitioners of medicine, can be very secure and proud of our leader, the founder and historical guide of our profession: Hippocrates. We can get satisfaction not only in his oath, his teachings, his accomplishments, and his legend, but in the man himself. Twenty-five centuries have passed since his birth, yet his figure still commands respect and reverence. A Greek physician of ancient times from the small island of Cos, he remains so interesting to our contemporary world that Dr Owsei Temkin, a distinguished historian at