Galen's Polemics against Asclepiades and Methodists: Defending the Usefulness of Medicine

Frederic Le Blay


In his attacks against Asclepiades and his followers, Galen did not only criticize a different theoretical approach on healing. The issue was more fundamental. In their definition of medicine, Methodists could be seen as the advocates of a rather light version of medicine, which made it popular and easy to understand. According to Methodists themselves, practitioners could be trained in a very short period of time. Such a view on medicine could make the basics of the art of healing affordable to everyone. Galen, who had a very ambitious conception of his art, was promoting a strong intellectual and philosophical approach to medicine as well as the idea that medical practitioners are thoroughly educated specialists. He was defending the social legitimacy of his profession.


Key words: Galen - Asclepiades - Methodists - Polemics

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