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Title: Medicine without Borders: Ṭibb and the Asbāb Tradition in Mughal and Colonial India
Authors: Schlein, Deborah
Advisors: Cook, Michael
Contributors: Near Eastern Studies Department
Keywords: Arabic in South Asia
History of Medicine
History of the Book
Subjects: History
South Asian studies
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Paratextual clues are the secondary voices in a dialogue dictated by a text and its environment. While marginalia speak to the text itself, colophons, ownership stamps, and receipts of sale reflect the value, usage, and importance of that text. Medical manuscripts contain a variety of paratextual clues such as these, often shedding light on the theory, diagnoses, and treatment plans discussed in the text, as well as the reception and consumption of the texts themselves. Add previous translations, commentaries, famous glosses, and even simple layers in medical theory, and the conversations that the paratext takes part in show a network of sources, scholars, and languages across centuries. This is the macro-story of the manuscripts of Yūnānī Ṭibb, or Greco-Arabic medicine, in India. This dissertation focuses on the Indian reception of a major Arabic medical encyclopedia — Najīb al-Dīn al-Samarqandī’s (d. 619/1222) al-Asbāb wa al-ʿAlāmāt — through the intermediary of its most famous commentary — Nafīs b. ʿIwaḍ al-Kirmānī’s (fl. 841/1437) Sharḥ al-Asbāb wa al-ʿAlāmāt — and the subsequent Indian commentary tradition based on his text. By working with the paratextual clues that the extant Indian Arabic and Persian manuscripts have to offer, the project aims to contextualize the reception and usage of these ṭibbī (medical) manuscripts in the Indian context. With Indian manuscripts in this commentary tradition dating from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, my dissertation attempts to explain the developments of this medical tradition in India, through the lens of the reception of these Greco-Arabic medical manuscripts, as interacting with each other, previous medical sources, and the medical practices of their environments.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Near Eastern Studies

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