Medical Theory About the Body and the Soul in the Middle Ages: The First Western Medical Curriculum at Monte Cassino

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This study examines the cross-cultural transmission of medical knowledge and theory between Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities in the Medieval period. The monastery of Monte Cassino in Southern Italy became the pivotal center for the transfer if Arabic medical science into the Latin West at the end of the eleventh century. Special attention is given to the debates over the precise relationship of the body and soul, one of the central concerns of contemporaneous philosophy and theology.


“The wide range of scholarship is most impressive, since it ranges from Christianity to Islam to other major religions and ranges over a period of thousands of years. Dr. Grudzen shows throughout this book that his knowledge is encyclopedic.” - Sterling Harwood, J.D., Ph.D., Adjunct Instructor of Philosophy, Evergreen Valley College

“Besides bringing to life the cosmopolitan and humanist atmosphere at Monte Cassino, Professor Grudzen’s cross-disciplinary scholarship masterfully integrates philology, textual exegesis, philosophy, theology and history - Church, Medieval, Islamic - and cross-comparative analysis. His narrative contributes to a greater understanding of the development and conflicts in Western medical theory that still persists.” - Ronald Y. Nakasone, Ph.D., Core Doctoral Faculty, Graduate Theological Union

Table of Contents

Foreword by Dr. Richard W. Bulliet
1 Monte Cassino and Philosophical Medicine: Historical Context
2 Body and Soul in Galen, Neoplatinism and Christianity: 200-550 CE
3 Body and Soul in St. Augustine and Nemesius of Emesa
4 The Church of the East and Nestorian Christiainity: Bodily Healing Arts and Medical Science
5 Constantine the African’s Jewish and Islamic Medicine Sources and Influences
6 Constantine the African’s Pantegni and De spermate: Philosophical Medicine and Monastic Spirituality
7 Conclusion
Exhibit A: Haly Abbas, Isaac Israeli and Constantine
Exhibit B: Peter the Deacon’s Biography of Constantine, selected pages
Appendix A: De spermate and De natura hominis
Appendix B: Selected Texts Translated from De spermate Manuscript, New York’s Academy of Medicine

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