Authority and Authorship in the Medicina Plinii

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Title: Authority and Authorship in the Medicina Plinii
Authors: Doody, Aude
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Date: 2-Oct-2009
Online since: 2019-04-18T08:58:58Z
Abstract: Authority is central to the practice of medicine. In antiquity, in the absence of strong institutional frameworks guaranteeing a doctor’s credentials, creating the right impression of knowledge, skill and moral character was a serious concern for the individual practitioner. The instructions on everything from bedside manner to personal morality contained in ancient medical texts from the Hippocratic Corpus to Galen bear witness to the pressing nature of the doctor’s efforts to establish an authoritative persona which would encourage trust between himself and his patients. But if persuading the patient of his authority was important to the individual doctor, claims to authority were also central to the project of producing a medical text. A medical text needed to persuade the reader that its information was accurate and effective, and, as in the case of the doctor, this persuasion rested not just on proven results, but on persuasive strategies employed by the text’s author. As the articles in this volume demonstrate, these strategies vary from text to text and from author to author. Galen, for instance, claims authority through his engagement with philosophical concerns, the emphasis on the physician’s practical experience, his polemical and doxographical approach to earlier authorities, but he also relies on the creation of a strong authorial persona, his demonstration of careful philological practice, and the interplay between the many texts he has written. My aim here is to explore the specific problems that confront the author of a pseudonymous book of extracts, the Medicina Plinii, and the peculiar set of difficulties that its genre and its pseudonymity pose for how authority can be established.
Type of material: Book Chapter
Publisher: WVT Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier
Keywords: MedicineAuthorityMedicina PliniiMedical writing
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Language: en
Status of Item: Not peer reviewed
Is part of: Taub, L., Doody, A. (eds.). Authorial Voices in Greco-Roman Technical Writing
ISBN: 9783868211818
Appears in Collections:Classics Research Collection

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