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December 30, 1939

THE HIPPOCRATIC OATH

JAMA. 1939;113(27):2442-2443. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.02800520068022

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Abstract

To the Editor:—  I was surprised to read the editorial "A New Interpretation of a Paragraph in the Hippocratic Oath" in The Journal November 4. The "new interpretation" is meaningless and not in accord with the spirit of the rest of the oath. It vitiates one of the most important paragraphs in the entire oath.The scholar who suggests this interpretation is more of an etymologist, lexicographer and perhaps syntaxologist than a philologist. Yet I suspect that he will receive a vote of appreciation from practitioners who are "cutting persons suffering from a stone" instead of "leaving it to practitioners of that art," because this "interpretation" would put a final quietus on their conscience for doing so.It is a well recognized fact that words denote, connote and have a figurative meaning. Sometimes a word is used for one of these reasons, sometimes for another, and taken in the context

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