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The Medical History of Rabbi Judah the Patriarch: A Linguistic Analysis

The Medical History of Rabbi Judah the Patriarch: A Linguistic Analysis Abstract: Talmudic literature contains more references to the maladies of Rabbi Judah the Patriarch (c. C.E. 180-225) than to the illnesses of any other of its Sages and personalities and provides an authentic and vivid picture of his illnesses. The most severe of his afflictions was his bowel disease, from which he suffered to the end of his days. Two other illnesses from which he suffered for many years were Tzmirtha—urinary calculi, and Tzafdinah—inflammation of the gums. He had some problems in the joints of his fingers or toes and ill-defined ocular pain. A nebulous and indirect Talmudic reference suggests further, that there was psoriasis in the family of Rabbi Judah. He took a number of active steps to alleviate his suffering, by following the contemporary doctrines of health care. His recurrent visits to the thermo-mineral baths indicate the chronic nature of his maladies. Rabbi Judah was probably past middle age when he had the illnesses. Therefore, he might well have suffered from a number of unrelated ailments. His most prominent and painful complaint was the intestinal disorder. It is unlikely that this chronic relapsing disorder was just due to hemorrhoids. The familial, recurrent and painful digital lesions described of him and his grandson might have been due to gout. In this case the term Tzmirtha could refer to urinary uric acid stones. It is suggested that it may be possible to explain all the clinical and familial aspects of Rabbi Judah's disease by diagnosing the presence of inflammatory bowel disease, with its known clinical and genetic associations with arthritis and with psoriasis. The oral Tzafdinah could then be due to an associated stomatitis, and his painful eyes could have been due to uveitis. The urinary symptoms of Tzmirtha could then have been due to non-specific urethritis or even to colitic abdominal pain, rather than to bladder stones. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Hebrew Studies National Association of Professors of Hebrew

The Medical History of Rabbi Judah the Patriarch: A Linguistic Analysis

Hebrew Studies , Volume 43 (1) – Oct 5, 2002

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Publisher
National Association of Professors of Hebrew
Copyright
Copyright © National Association of Professors of Hebrew
ISSN
2158-1681
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Abstract

Abstract: Talmudic literature contains more references to the maladies of Rabbi Judah the Patriarch (c. C.E. 180-225) than to the illnesses of any other of its Sages and personalities and provides an authentic and vivid picture of his illnesses. The most severe of his afflictions was his bowel disease, from which he suffered to the end of his days. Two other illnesses from which he suffered for many years were Tzmirtha—urinary calculi, and Tzafdinah—inflammation of the gums. He had some problems in the joints of his fingers or toes and ill-defined ocular pain. A nebulous and indirect Talmudic reference suggests further, that there was psoriasis in the family of Rabbi Judah. He took a number of active steps to alleviate his suffering, by following the contemporary doctrines of health care. His recurrent visits to the thermo-mineral baths indicate the chronic nature of his maladies. Rabbi Judah was probably past middle age when he had the illnesses. Therefore, he might well have suffered from a number of unrelated ailments. His most prominent and painful complaint was the intestinal disorder. It is unlikely that this chronic relapsing disorder was just due to hemorrhoids. The familial, recurrent and painful digital lesions described of him and his grandson might have been due to gout. In this case the term Tzmirtha could refer to urinary uric acid stones. It is suggested that it may be possible to explain all the clinical and familial aspects of Rabbi Judah's disease by diagnosing the presence of inflammatory bowel disease, with its known clinical and genetic associations with arthritis and with psoriasis. The oral Tzafdinah could then be due to an associated stomatitis, and his painful eyes could have been due to uveitis. The urinary symptoms of Tzmirtha could then have been due to non-specific urethritis or even to colitic abdominal pain, rather than to bladder stones.

Journal

Hebrew StudiesNational Association of Professors of Hebrew

Published: Oct 5, 2002

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