The Meanings of Sex Difference in the Middle Ages: Medicine, Science, and Culture

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Cambridge University Press, Mar 31, 1995 - Medical - 310 pages
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In describing and explaining the sexes, medicine and science participated in the delineation of what was 'feminine' and what was 'masculine' in the Middle Ages. Hildegard of Bingen and Albertus Magnus, among others, writing about gynecology, the human constitution, fetal development, or the naturalistic dimensions of divine Creation, became increasingly interested in issues surrounding reproduction and sexuality. Did women as well as men produce procreative seed? How did the physiology of the sexes influence their healthy state and their susceptibility to disease? Who derived more pleasure from intercourse, men or women? This book explores how scientific ideas about sex differences in the later Middle Ages participated in the broader culture's assumptions about gender. Cadden discusses how medieval natural philosophical theories and medical notions about reproduction and sexual impulses and experiences intersected with ideas about such matters as the social roles of men and women, and the purpose of marriage.
  

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Contents

Introduction i
11
The transmission of ancient
39
The emergence of issues and the ordering of opinions
54
Extension and integration
70
Questions and answers on human generation
88
Female and male in scholastic
105
How the embryo acquires its sex
130
The measure of pleasure I 50
150
Creation
188
The possibilities and limitations
201
The pursuit of progeny and the failure
228
Sterility fertility and sex difference
249
The reins on restraint
271
Printed works
286
Index
305
Copyright

SEX DIFFERENCE AND THE CONSTRUCTION
167

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