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BERNARDUS DE GORDONIO (ca. 1258–ca. 1320). Lilium medicinae.
Translated into Hebrew. Manuscript on paper. Escalona, Spain, 11 January 1466.


Bernardus de Gordonio wrote the Lilium medicinae in 1303-05 while teaching medicine at the University of Montpellier in France. A compilation of essential medical knowledge for young doctors, it enjoyed widespread popularity in Europe for more than three hundred years. The original Latin text, brought into Spain by Christian doctors, was translated into Hebrew at Narbonne in 1387 by Yekutiel ben Schlomo. According to a scribal inscription at the end of the present manuscript, this copy was transcribed by the Jewish doctor Moses ben Shmaya de Castro at Escalona, Spain, in 1466. One of perhaps only five surviving manuscripts of this translation, it is a rare survivor of the widespread destruction of Hebrew books following the expulsion of Spain’s Jews in 1492.

In 2010, Dr. Katelyn Mesler visited Bridwell Library and became the first medical history specialist since Dr. Sellers to study the manuscript. She published observations on one of its key passages in Katelyn Mesler, "The Three Magi and Other Christian Motifs in Medieval Hebrew Medical Incantations: A Study in the Limits of Faithful Translation," in: Latin-into-Hebrew: Texts and Studies. Studies in Jewish History and Culture 39-40. Edited by Resianne Fontaine and Gad Freudenthal (Leiden: Brill, 2013), vol. 1, pp. 161-216, esp. 202 and 215; census B2.