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El humanismo medico del siglo XVI en la Universidad de Salamanca & Humanistas medicos en el Renacimiento Vallisoletano. .

Maria Jesus Perez Ibariez. El humanismo medico del siglo XVI en la Universidad de Salamanca.

(Lingufstica y Filologia, 31.) Valladolid: Secretariado de Publicaciones e Intercambio Cientifico, Universidad de Valladolid, 1998. 228 pp. illus. bibl. [euro]15.03. ISBN: 84-7762-796-7.

Jose Ignacio Blanco Perez. Humanistas medicos en el Renacimiento Vallisoletano. (Estudios y monografias, 5.) Burgos: Servicio de Publicaciones, Universidad de Burgos, 1999. 232 pp. bibl. [euro] 27.75. ISBN: 84-95211-05-X.

Together with the work of Ana Isabel Martin Ferreira, El Humanismo medico en la Universidad de Alcala (siglo XVI) (Alcala de Henares: Servicio de Publicaciones, Universidad de Alcala, 1995), these two volumes (Perez Ibanez [henceforth Salamanca]; Blanco Perez [henceforth Valladolid]) are parts of a wider research program launched at the University of Valladolid by Enrique Montero Cartelle and devoted to (I translate) "Spanish medical humanism and the linguistic problem." As such, they share common features and are built on the same model.

Both start with a discussion of Renaissance, humanism, and medical humanism. For both authors, humanism consisted in returning to the classical texts in their original language, to critically revise them in order to eliminate the medieval layers deposited on them (this is especially valid in the matter of medicine), to translate into Latin the Greek text humanists they were interested in or to comment in Latin on all these texts, imitating as closely as possible the classical usage, and, on this basis, to renovate the practice of science. Humanism thus cannot be defined as a unified pattern, but rather as a stream associating individuals with different ways to achieve a common ideal, the re-actualization of ancient legacy.

In this preliminary presentation, both authors meet the important question of the existence or not of a Spanish humanism. Referring to old or recent literature negating the existence of a Spanish humanism (from H. Wantoch, Spanien, das Land ohne Renaissance, 1927 [quoted in Valladolid, 21, note 11] to L. Gil, Panorama social del Humanismo espanol, 2nd ed., 1997 [quoted in Salamanca, 18]), the authors cautiously do not sustain that there was a Spanish humanism, but Spanish humanists using all the resources of the studia humanitatis and achieving original contributions. This is the specific object of their books, intended as an analysis of how Salamanca and Valladolid Renaissance physicians used Latin in order to renovate science and its practice.

Before that, however, both authors present the context of the works they will be discussing: medicine in Spain during the Renaissance, including a short presentation of the medical faculties in Spain, and the history of the universities of Salamanca and Valladolid, especially during the Renaissance.

As for the authors whose works are studied, they are the following for Salamanca: Andres Alcazar (d. 1584), Jan Bravo de Piedrahita (1527-16 10), Enrique Jorge Enriquez (fl. 1594 ca.), Luis De Lemos (2nd half, 16th cent.), Tomas Rodrigues daVeiga (1513-79), Agustin Vazquez (2nd half, 16th cent.), Amato Lusitano (151168), Benedicto Bustamante de Paz (1500-55), Garcia L6pez (ca. 1520-72), Francisco L6pez de Villalobos (1472/74-1542/49), and Gomez Pereira (1500-after 1558). For Valladolid, Blanco Perez studies the following authors, with their biography, a full and detailed presentation of their medical works and an evaluation of their personality: Bernardino Montana de Monserrate (ca. 1480-ca. 1551), Alfonso de Santa Cruz (d. 1576/77 [?]), Luis Mercado (1525-1611), Lizaro de Soto (d. 1626), Ildefonso Lopez Pinciano (1545/47-1625/27).

The analysis of these physicians' production starts with the definition of the literary genre they used. Both authors open this discussion with a short overview of medieval literary genres, then go on with the specific analysis of the Salamanca and Valladolid works, respectively. The commentary was the most important kind of work. While Perez Ibanez studies it rather globally, Blanco Perez proceeds in a more analytical way. He decomposes first the different parts of the commentaries: the justification of the text commented on, the edition used, the commentary in itself. On this point, he distinguishes the case of two of the authors dealt with: Lazaro de Soto and Ildefonso Lopez Pinciano. He abundantly quotes fragments of texts in the original version (that is, in Latin). No less than eight other genres were practiced in Salamanca, from the dialogue to the medieval consilia, including the monograph, the epistle, the expositiones, the conciliatio, the observationes, and the summa. For Valladolid, instead, Blanc o Perez mentions only one supplementary genre, the dialogue. A special case in Valladolid being that of Luis Mercado, Blanco Perez devotes an entire section to him, identifying the different types of works he wrote.

On the basis of all these data, the authors begin their textual analysis, starting with the use of the sources. For the Salamanca authors, Perez Ibanez distinguishes literary, philosophical, and medical texts, dividing the third category in subcategories: the main authors, that is, Hippocrates, Galen, and Avicenna; GrecoRoman and Byzantine authors; medieval texts; contemporary authors and personal experience. For Valladolid, Blanco Perez proceeds in a somehow different manner, distinguishing first the commentary and the dialogue and, then, among the sources of the commentary, Hippocrates and Galen on the one hand and, on the other hand, all the other authors. Again, the case of Luis Mercado is treated separately, by works.

A philological examination of the works under consideration closes the analysis. Rather detailed for Salamanca, it is more succinct for Valladolid. After a brief overview of Renaissance Latin, Perez Ibanez studies Salamanca Latin from four points of view: phonetic, morphology, syntax and style, lexicon. Since style is a highly personalized matter, he distinguishes the case of each of the Salamanca authors. In so doing, he applies to the dedicatory letters, introductions, and prologues of the different authors the quantitative methods of stylistic analysis developed by H. Aili, The Prose Rhythm of Sallust and Livy (Stockholm, 1979). His purpose is to detect the possible voluntary use of clausulae. When present in a significantly number, they witness a special attention to style and a voluntary imitation of the ancient model. Perez Ibanez points out the presence of this stylistic technique in only two our of twelve works. For Valladolid, Blanco Perez offers a more synthetic analysis, proceeding by authors: Alfo nso de Santa Gruz, Lazaro de Soto, Ildefonso Lopez Pinciano, Luis Mercado, also including a brief analysis of the Castillan works written by these authors.

Perez Ibanez closes his work with a case study (the denominations of dropsy), which illustrates the productivity of the linguistic approach: Renaissance physicians recovered nor only the different technical names of dropsy present in ancient texts, but also the medical analysis of dropsy, thus distinguishing different types. Blanco Perez outlines the lexical trends of Valladolid authors, proceeding by authors. Apart from the Castillan production of Bernardino Montana de Monserrate markedly medieval and Arabic oriented, the other Works evidence some common characteristics: the rejection of latinized Arabic and medieval terms (or, for the latter, their acceptance, but with comments on their barbarian nature), the acceptance of Greek transliterated terms (even when there was a good Latin equivalent), and, sometimes, also the use of vulgar terms.

In their conclusions, Perez Ibanez and Blanco Perez propose a similarly equilibrated picture of Salamanca and Valladolid medical humanism. First of all, both concord to consider that there were Spanish humanists, if humanism is defined as an increased interest in classical works directly studied in the original language. For Salamanca, a medieval university with a long history and a strong tradition, Perez Ibanez stresses the resistance to humanism and Renaissance in spite of the teaching of Antonio Nebrija for example. Salamanca doctors were not Hellenists, they continued to teach Arabic medicine or the Arabic revision of classical medicine, they did not do first hand critical work, they continued to refer to medieval science, and they used the medieval technique of commentary. But, at the same time, they rejected medieval Arabisms out of their technical lexicon, they developed a new lexicon markedly Latin or, when necessary, Greek, and they also tended to express themselves in a rather pure Latin language. If their humanism was not that of Alcala de Henares, it was not even the environmental one of Valladolid. There, indeed, humanism did nor provoke a change in the centuries-old university tradition. Nevertheless, Valladolid authors tended to improve their Latin scientific language, excluding Arabisms and introducing correct technical terms, even though they proceeded on this point in a very eclectic way. Hence the expression of "environmental humanism" proposed by the author.

Both books close on a bibliography. Though abundant, secondary literature is too often limited to the Spanish production and is sometimes quoted in a not consistent way. None of the works contain an index of any kind (neither proper names, nor subjects).

Resulting from a meticulous research on the original text of the Renaissance production under consideration, these two works will interest more the historians of language, universities, education, and textual tradition than the historians of science and medicine, even though those will surely find interesting data for them.

The discovery, re-appropriation, and integration of ancient texts into contemporary culture and practice of science was nor limited to a philological exercise. It went beyond, implying a practical application of texts. This does not mean, however, that Renaissance humanism contributed to the rise of personal observation and, hence, of pre-modern science as Perez Ibanez repeatedly affirms (see, for example, Salamanca, 22, 124, 211). Yet this component of Renaissance scientific enterprise is omitted in these books. It is true that text availability and recovery was fundamental and conditioned any further development. But the analysis of these points, however complete and carefully done it might be, does not exhaust the topic.

On the other hand, even in matter of cultural studies, one could contest the starting point of these works, that is, their definition of Renaissance and humanism. This point is linked with the previous: Renaissance and humanism were nor a literary activity consisting only of (and nor even mainly) restoring and enjoying ancient texts. The re-appropriation of ancient texts and the notion of imitation included a practical dimension consisting in applying in daily reality the kind of life that texts reported.

This observation, aimed at making clear the object and contribution of these two works, does not imply any reserve on their philological component. Proceeding according to a well-established (though perhaps old-fashioned) philological method, they are well documented and rely on a large bibliography, both of primary sources (directly read in their original version and presented in large extracts) and secondary literature. The philological analysis is appropriate to the purpose. Furthermore, it is constantly defined in the course of the study and leads to clear results, explicitly summarized at each step of the exposition and progressively accumulated.

Overall, though somewhat prolix (they are dissertations), Perez Ibanez's and Blanco Perez's works constitute a sort of introduction to the reading of the Renaissance medical works written in the universities of Salamanca and Valladolid, respectively. As such, they open the door to a wide range of future research from Renaissance medical lexicon and language to university medical teaching and publishing, for example, also allowing comparative research between individuals, places, and countries.
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Author:Touwaide, Alain
Publication:Renaissance Quarterly
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 22, 2003
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