Der Medicus””The Physician”-Ibn Sina-Avicenna – 07/22/2014

The Physician (GermanDer Medicus) is a 2013 German adventure film based on the novel of the same name by Noah Gordon. The movie focuses on an orphan from 11th-century English town whose mother died of a mysterious illness. The boy vows to study medicine and decides to travel to Persia.

“The film premiered on 25 December 2013 in German theaters. It was an immediate box-office hit and earned the producers a Bogey Award for more than 1,000 visitors per copy on its opening weekend and 1 million visitors within ten days. It will also be released as a two-part mini-series for the German public TV ARD.”

“Ibn Sina (August c. 980 – June 1037), commonly known as Ibn Sīnā, or in Arabic writing Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Al-Hasan ibn Ali ibn Sīnā or by his Latinized name Avicenna, was a Persian polymath, who wrote almost 450 works on a wide range of subjects, of which around 240 have survived. In particular, 150 of his surviving works concentrate on philosophy and 40 of them concentrate on medicine.

“His most famous works are The Book of Healing, a vast philosophical and scientific encyclopedia, and The Canon of Medicine, which was a standard medical text at many medieval universities. The Canon of Medicine was used as a textbook in the universities of Montpellier and Leuven as late as 1650. Ibn Sīnā’s Canon of Medicine provides an overview of all aspects of medicine according to the principles of Galen (and Hippocrates).

“His corpus also includes writing on philosophyastronomyalchemygeologypsychologyIslamic theologylogic,mathematicsphysics, as well as poetry. He is regarded as the most famous and influential polymath of the Islamic Golden Age.”

“Avicenna created an extensive corpus of works during what is commonly known as the Islamic Golden Age, in which the translations of Greco-Roman, Persian, and Indian texts were studied extensively. Greco-Roman (Mid- and Neo-Platonic, andAristotelian) texts by the Kindi school were commented, redacted and developed substantially by Islamic intellectuals, who also built upon Persian and Indian mathematical systems, astronomyalgebratrigonometry and medicine.The Samanid dynasty in the eastern part of PersiaGreater Khorasan and Central Asia as well as the Buyid dynasty in the western part ofPersia and Iraq provided a thriving atmosphere for scholarly and cultural development. Under the Samanids, Bukhara rivaledBaghdad as a cultural capital of the Islamic world.
The study of the Quran and the Hadith thrived in such a scholarly atmosphere. Philosophy, Fiqh and theology (kalaam) were further developed, most noticeably by Avicenna and his opponents. Al-Razi and Al-Farabi had provided methodology and knowledge in medicine and philosophy. Avicenna had access to the great libraries of BalkhKhwarezmGorganReyIsfahanand Hamadan. Various texts (such as the ‘Ahd with Bahmanyar) show that he debated philosophical points with the greatest scholars of the time. Aruzi Samarqandi describes how before Avicenna left Khwarezm he had met Rayhan Biruni (a famous scientist and astronomer), Abu Nasr Iraqi (a renowned mathematician), Abu Sahl Masihi (a respected philosopher) and Abu al-Khayr Khammar (a great physician).”

As early as the 14th century when Dante Alighieri depicted him in Limbo alongside the virtuous non-Christian thinkers in hisDivine Comedy such as VirgilAverroesHomerHoraceOvidLucanSocratesPlato, and Saladin, Avicenna has been recognized by both East and West, as one of the great figures in intellectual history.
George Sarton, the author of The History of Science, described Ibn Sīnā as “one of the greatest thinkers and medical scholars in history” and called him “the most famous scientist of Islam and one of the most famous of all races, places, and times.” He was one of the Islamic world’s leading writers in the field of medicine. Along with RhazesAbulcasisIbn al-Nafis, and al-Ibadi, Ibn Sīnā is considered an important compiler of early Muslim medicine. He is remembered in the Western history of medicine as a major historical figure who made important contributions to medicine and the European Renaissance. His medical texts were unusual in that where controversy existed between Galen and Aristotle’s views on medical matters (such as anatomy), he preferred to side with Aristotle, where necessary updating Aristotle’s position to take into account post-Aristotilian advances in anatomical knowledge.Aristotle’s dominant intellectual influence among medieval European scholars meant that Avicenna’s linking of Galen’s medical writings with Aristotle’s philosophical writings in the Canon of Medicine(along with its comprehensive and logical organisation of knowledge) significantly increased Avicenna’s importance in medieval Europe in comparison to other Islamic writers on medicine. His influence following translation of the Canon was such that from the early fourteenth to the mid-sixteenth centuries he was ranked with Hippocrates and Galen as one of the acknowledged authorities, princeps medicorum (prince of physicians).”

“In March 2008, it was announced that Avicenna’s name would be used for new Directories of education institutions for health care professionals, worldwide. The Avicenna Directories will list universities and schools where doctors, public health practitioners, pharmacists and others, are educated. The project team stated “Why Avicenna? Avicenna … was … noted for his synthesis of knowledge from both east and west. He has had a lasting influence on the development of medicine and health sciences. The use of Avicenna’s name symbolises the worldwide partnership that is needed for the promotion of health services of high quality.”


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