Source, Translation, Glosses: Hermeneutical Stratas in the 16 th and 17 th Centuries Medical Works


  • Magdalena Kozluk Université de Lodz, Poland



Transmission of learning, Translation, Interpretation, Medical hermeneutics, Medical works, XVI th and XVII th centuries, France


This paper considers the specificity of medical translation in surgical and pharmaceutical works published in France in the 16th and 17thcenturies. We argue that translation offers to translators an occasion to discuss issues of medical hermeneutics and to demonstrate their learning in the field. While some translators prioritize the use of a vocabulary from Greek and Latin, others dare to engage in the promotion of a plurality of languages both ancient and modern. Most interesting among them are physicians concerned with redefining medical terminology by promoting the use of French. Translation in the period comes with a real interest in the precision of the terms that our translators use, leading them to present their interpretations of difficult passages by adding to the texts all manner of glosses, ‘collations’, comments, additions or annotations. Our analysis leads us to conclude that in the case of translations in French of medical works of the period, the real hermeneutical issues they raise, concern not so much the vocabulary chosen, but the philological commentary that accompanies it and reveals a finer and more personal approach to it.