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January 6, 1962


Author Affiliations

Baylor Univ. Med Center., Dallas 10, Tex.

JAMA. 1962;179(1):99. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050010101025

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To the Editor:—  I enjoyed reading your informative editorial about Avicenna (JAMA177:704 [Sept. 9] 1961). However, I should like to correct an error which is frequently made by Western writers. In your editorial, you have referred to Avicenna as "the most famous physician of the Arab world." This is quite misleading because Avicenna was not an Arab and did not belong to the Arab world. He was Persian and belonged to the Islamic world which, from the advent of Islam, has been composed of many nationalities including the Arabs. Furthermore, Avicenna was educated in the Persian part of the Islamic world and thus did not get his medical education at Bagdad as indicated in your editorial. The reason he wrote his famous books in Arabic (he has written books and poetry in Persian, too) was that the Arabic language was at that time the scientific language of the

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