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Inventing diagnosis : Theophilus’ De urinis in the classroom

Inventing diagnosis : Theophilus’ De urinis in the classroom


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Inventing diagnosis : Theophilus’ De urinis in the classroom

By Faith Wallis

Dynamis : Acta Hispanica ad Medicinae Scientiarumque. Historiam Illustrandam. 20 (2000)

Abstract: This paper shows how the two earliest Latin expositions of Theophilus’ De urinis understood diagnosis in different ways. The «Chartres» commentator sees urine as a sign of physiological process and something which is derived from a disease state. By contrast, the Digby commentator is more concerned with how uroscopy functions at the bedside as a tool that enables us to infer disease states from urine. Though they understand the role of diagnosis differently, both commentaries reflect the new intellectual context of twelfth century medicine, where physical signs cease to be mere prognostic omens, and become tools for attaining knowledge of processes otherwise inaccessible to the senses.


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