Dissecta

the-anatomy-lesson-of-doctor-tulp-by-rembrandt
Rembrandt van Rijn, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp (1632)

Dum enim medici solam interiorum affectuum curationem ad se pertinere autumabant, viscerum dumtaxat cognitionem sibi abunde sufficere arbitrati, ossium, musculorum, nervorum, venarum, arteriarum quae ossa musculosque perreptant fabricam, veluti ad ipsos non spectantem, neglexerunt. ad haec, quum universa administratio tonsoribus committebatur, non solum vera viscerum cognitio medicis periit, verum etiam dissecandi industria prorsus intercidit, eo quod scilicet hi reflectionem non aggrederentur, illi vero quibus manus artificium delegabatur, indoctiores essent, quam ut dissectionis professorum scripta intelligerent: tantum abest, ut difficillimam artem, manu ipsis traditam, id hominum genus nobis asservaret, utque haec deploranda curativae partis dispersio, detestabilem ritum in gymnasiis non inveheret, quo alii humani corporis sectionem administrare, alii partium historiam enarrare consueverunt. his quidem graculorum modo, quae numquam aggressi sunt, sed tantum ex aliorum libris memoriae commendant, descriptave ob oculos ponunt, alte in cathedra egregio fastu occinentibus: illis autem adeo linguarum imperitis, ut dissecta spectatoribus explicare nequeant, atque ex physici praescripto ostendanda lacerent, qui manu sectioni nunquam adhibita, tantum ex commentario nautam non sine supercilio agit. atque ut sic omnia perperam docentur, ac ridiculis quaestionibus dies aliquot abeunt, ita quoque spectatoribus in illo tumultu pauciora proponuntur, quam lanius in macello medicum docere posset.
(Andras Vesalius, De Humani Corporis Fabrica, ad Carolum V. imperatorem praefatio)

For as long as physicians maintained that only the treatment of interior diseases was their concern, they believed that knowledge of the viscera was all they needed, and they neglected the fabric of bones and muscles and the nerves, veins and arteries that run throughout the bones and muscles, as if these were irrelevant to them. Moreover, when all operations were entrusted to barbers, not only did true knowledge of the viscera perish from the medical profession, but the work of dissection completely died out. Physicians did not undertake surgery, while those to whom the manual craft was entrusted were too uneducated to understand what professors of dissection had written. So far this class of men is from preserving for us the difficult and abstruse art handed down to them, and so far has this pernicious dispersal of the healing art failed to avoid importing the vile ritual in the universities by which some perform dissections of the human body while others recite the anatomical information. While the latter in their egregious conceit squawk like jackdaws from their lofty professorial chairs things they have never done but only memorize from the books of others or see written down, the former are so ignorant of languages that they are unable to explain dissections to an audience and they butcher the things they are meant to demonstrate, following the instructions of a physician who in a haughty manner navigates out of a manual alone matters he has never subjected to dissection by hand. And as everything is being thus wrongly taught in the universities and as days pass in silly questions, fewer things are placed before the spectators in all that confusion than a butcher in a market could teach a doctor. (tr. Daniel Garrison & Malcolm Hast)

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