She will give birth immediately. Pregnancy and childbirth in medieval Hebrew medical texts produced in the Mediterranean West
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AuthorCaballero Navas, Carmen
Universidad de Granada. Departamento de Historia de la Medicina; Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona. Centro de Historia de la Ciencia; Universidad Miguel Hernández. División de Historia de la Ciencia; Universidad de Cantabria. Área de Historia de la Ciencia
PregnancyChildbirthHebrew textsSexual differenceWomen's medical practiceEmbarazoPartoTextos hebreosDiferencia sexualPráctica médica de las mujeres
Caballero Navas, C. She will give birth immediately. Pregnancy and childbirth in medieval Hebrew medical texts produced in the Mediterranean West. Dynamis, 34(2): 377-401 (2014). [http://hdl.handle.net/10481/36951]
This essay approaches the medieval Hebrew literature on women's healthcare, with the aim of analysing notions and ideas regarding fertility, pregnancy and childbirth, as conveyed in the texts that form the corpus. Firstly, the work discusses the approach of written texts to pregnancy and childbirth as key elements in the explanation of women's health and the functioning of the female body. In this regard it also explores the role of this approach in the creation of meanings for both the female body and sexual difference. Secondly, it examines female management of pregnancy and childbirth as recorded in Hebrew medical literature. It pays attention to both the attitudes expressed by the authors, translators and copyists regarding female practice, as well as to instances and remedies derived from "local" traditions -that is, from women's experience- in the management of pregnancy and childbirth, also recorded in the texts. Finally, the paper explores how medical theories alien to, or in opposition to, Judaism were adopted or not and, at times, adapted to Jewish notions with the aim of eliminating tensions from the text, on the one hand, and providing Jewish practitioners with adequate training to retain their Christian clientele, on the other.