Cursus Medicine or a Complete Theory of Physic (1724),
(from the original Latin by Hermann Boerhaave, 1668-1738)

John Crawford and Hermann Boerhaave


Cursus Medicine or a Complete Theory of Physic (1724)

Cursus Medicine or a Complete Theory of Physic: in Five Parts is the English version of the famous Leiden professor, Hermann Boerhaave’s work. Published originally in Latin, John Crawford, a London physician translates it for the benefit of those who do not speak it.

The book has five parts: Part I is Physiology, Part II, Pathology; Part III Semiology – Signs and Symptoms of Diseases;  Part IV, Hygiene; Part V – Therapeutics.  The introduction covers “The Rise, Progress and Success of Physic (Medicine) with the principles, nature and division of the Art.” This section reviews major contributors to the development of physiology. The chapters on physiology of the body are the longest. It focuses on the major systems. It starts with the stomach and digestion; the actions of the intestines, bile, and pancreatic juice; defecation and feces and lymphatic ducts; the structure of arteries and veins and blood circulation; the structure and force of the heart; the structure and action of the lungs; the nature of the blood, etc. In the second part of the book, Boerhaave deals with Pathology. The third is a section on signs and symptoms as they relate to specific diseases. The Hygiene and Therapeutics part are the shortest sections. Boerhaave’s lecture notes from his full course in medicine were famous. Students flocked to the University of Leyden to hear his lectures and become his students. (See notes on several Boerhaave volumes in our collection.)

Editorial notes by Andrew I Spielman.

Digital Version