UCL Institute of Jewish Studies


Defining Jewish Medicine

28 July 2014–29 July 2014, 9:45 am–5:30 pm

Event Information

Open to



Institute of Jewish Studies


J.Z Young lecture theatre, Anatomy Building

Summer Conference 2014

Organized jointly by the Institute of Jewish Studies and the Jewish Medical Association

The association between Jewish doctors and their calling has roots which go back to the Babylonian Talmud and proceed throughout the Middle Ages into modernity, with major contributions to medicine being made by Jewish practitioners. A fundamental aspect of this question is how to define 'Jewish medicine' throughout its long history. Developing a clear profile will have considerable influence on the way we view the connection between Jews and medicine. The conference will present different aspects of research on Jewish medicine - its origins, its historical context, how medicine could be influenced by Jewish law and custom (halachah) and how the role of the Jewish doctor has evolved over the centuries. 


Monday 28th July

Medicine in the Talmud and Middle Ages

09.45  Mark Geller (UCL / Freie Universität Berlin) Welcome and Introduction  

10.15  Ulrike STEINERT (Freie Universität Berlin) Concepts of the female body in Mesopotamian gynaecological texts

11.30  Tzvi LANGERMANN (Bar-Ilan University) - Nu'man al-Isra'ili's unstudied commentary on Abu Sahl al-Masihi's Kitab al-Mi'a

12.15  Gerrit BOS (University of Cologne) and Guido Mensching (University of Göttingen) - Jewish multilingualism in medieval medical lexicography and translations

14.30  Ronit YOELI-TLALIM (Goldsmiths, University of London) - Counting body parts: views from the Hebrew Book of Asaf

15.15  Lennart LEHMHAUS (Freie Universität Berlin) - On the medical discourse(s) in the two Talmudim

16.30  Gad FREUDENTHAL (University of Geneva) - Philosophy and Medicine in Jewish Provence, Anno 1199: Samuel Ibn Tibbon and Doeg the Edomite Translating Galen's Tegni

17.15  Justine ISSERLES (UCL) - Bloodletting and medical astrology in Hebrew manuscripts from medieval Western Europe (13th-15th c.)

Tuesday 29th  July

Medicine, Jewish Medical Ethics and Jews

09.45  Samuel KOTTEK (Hebrew University, Jerusalem) - The Physician in Bible and Talmud: Between the Lord and the Ailing

10.30  Alan JOTKOWITZ (Ben Gurion University of the Negev) - The role of Talmudic Narratives in the Development of Jewish Medical Ethics

11.45  Shimon GLICK (Ben Gurion University of the Negev) - 20th century Jewish medical ethics -a historic overview

14.00  Avraham STEINBERG (Hebrew University and Shaarei Zedek Hospital, Jerusalem) - "Nature has changed" - Talmudic and modern medicine re halakhic decisions

14.45  Kenneth COLLINS (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, University of Glasgow) - The Entry of Jews to the Medical Schools of Early Modern Europe

16.00  Gerry BLACK (Past President, Jewish Historical Society of England) - Lord Rothschild and the Barber. The struggle to establish the London Jewish Hospital

16.45  Paul WEINDLING (Oxford Brookes University) - Jewish Victims of Nazi Medical and Racial Research, and their Responses

17.30  David R Katz (UCL) - Concluding remarks