Does the Qur'an Plagiarise Ancient Greek Embryology?
Anonymous14 December 2003
(santanika) formed in milk, to semen and blood, which through chemical changes caused byheat, produce seven different layers of skin (kala). This concept occurs again in a Sutra onembryology written in Sanskrit, "Development, 0 Ananda," Buddha is made to say, "iscomparable to a vessel of milk, like as this ferments and forms a kind of kefir or cheese." (Ahistory of Embryology, J. Needham pp 25-27, Cambridge, 2nd edition 1959).
Hippocrates (460 - 377 BC) was a Greek physician and founder of the Hippocratic school ofmedicine. The Hippocratic collection of some 60 or so medical works is ascribed to variousauthors and was probably not written by Hippocrates. The embryological knowledge ofHippocrates is set out in three books, the treatise on Regimen, the work on The Seed the bookon The Nature of the Child (Hippocratic Writings, Penguin Classics, 1983). In the treatise on Regimen section 9 discusses the formation of the embryo. The description isbased on the fundamental physiological idea at the time, that is the two main constituents of allnatural bodies are fire and water. Both of these in turn consist of heat, dryness and moisture indiffering proportions. "Whatever may be the sex which chance gives to the embryo, it is set in motion, being humid,by fire, and thus it extracts its nourishment from the food and breath introduced into the mother.First of all this attraction is the same throughout because the body is porous but by the motionand the fire it dries up and solidifies as it solidifies, a dense outer crust is formed, and then thefire inside cannot any more draw in sufficient nourishment and does not expel the air becauseof the density of the surrounding surface. It therefore consumes the interior humidity. In thisway parts naturally solid being up to a point hard and dry are not consumed to feed the fire butfortify and condense themselves the more the humidity disappears-these are called bones andnerves. The fire burns up the mixed humidity and forwards development towards the naturaldisposition of the body in this manner; through the solid and dry parts it cannot makepermanent channels but it can do so through the soft wet parts, for these are all nourishment toit. There is also in these parts a certain dryness, which the fire does not consume, and theybecome compacted one to another. Therefore the most interior fire, being closed round on allsides, becomes the most abundant and makes the most canals for itself (for that was thewettest part) and this is called the belly. Issuing out from thence, and finding no nourishmentoutside, it makes the air pipes and those for conducting and distributing food. As for the
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