"My Reins Admonish Me at Night" (Psalm 16:7): The Kidneys in Ancient and Medieval Jewish Sources

Samuel S. Kottek

Abstract


David Macht already stated that in several ancient languages the same term is used for kidneys and testes. Preparation or elaboration of the semen was considered to be one of the functions of the kidneys in man. In the Bible, however, this confusion does not exist, at least not on the anatomical level. Together with the heart, the kidneys are paradigmatic of the innermost organs, wherefrom result their metaphoric association in being the seat of emotions and of wisdom. Some of these aspects will be delineated in the present study, briefly in Bible and Talmud, while stressing medieval Jewish sources, including the works of Shabtai Donnolo, Judah Halevi, Shem-Tov Falaquera, and Meir ibn Aldabi.


Key words: Kidneys Talmud Bible History of Nephrology


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