Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Fellow in the Humanities
2003—2004 Forum on Belief
Classical Studies, Biology
Scientific Method and Hippocratic Corpus
While philosophers struggled to comprehend and justify Pythagoras's seemingly inane rule of abstention from kúamos—the legume now known as the fava bean—physicians of antiquity seem to have ignored this dietary restriction, for it does not figure in any known medical treatise of the time. Could it be argued that the fava bean restriction somehow fell within the conceptual framework of the divine, categorically rejected as an agent of malady by the Hippocratic corpus? If so, then on what grounds could this same corpus reject Pythagoras's diet, yet accept a misogynist narrative such as Hesiod's Pandora myth about female physiology and disease? Bielska will explore the circumstances of this ostensible contradiction in medical belief.