From my diary

The Roman medical writer Galen (ca. 190) mentions Jews and Christians in 6 places in his works.  This afternoon I have been trying to compose a sensible web page on these passages.

The passages were collected (more or less) by R. Walzer in his monograph, Galen on Jews and Christians (Oxford, 1949).  But the book is so badly put together that it is very difficult indeed for the reader to determine what precisely he is looking at.  You have to flip to and fro in the book, merely to find out what the source is for whatever he is quoting.  It is a terribly incoherent book.

One example of carelessness that I observed is that for passages 1-5 he mentions whether the work of Galen is in De libris propriis, Galen’s own list of his own works.  For passage 6 he does not bother (although I find that it is).

He often uses out of date texts; he gives a Latin version of a passage in Bar Hebraeus, while ignoring Budge’s English translation.

He starts a discussion of the Arabic witnesses to passage 6 with the latest, and then plunges into a confused discussion of parallel sources.  He gives something from most of these, but apparently forgets to actually give the text of Ibn al-Qifti, for instance.

Eh, lad, it’s hard work!

But I’m getting there.  I’m gradually bringing some order into it all, and, when it’s done, it will be truly done.


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