The curative successes of recent decades often have led to a wholesale condemnation of older medicine. Critics do not always realize that the ridicule heaped upon older practices throws a peculiar light upon the practitioners. Were they fools, whereas we are wise? Few will be ready to give an affirmative answer to this question. Once we grant that what looks absurd to us was not done and thought by fools, we shall be prepared to look for an explanation of the seemingly ridiculous. We shall try to understand the medical thought of past ages within the context of the times.
This is the position taken by Dr. King in the present book, which is particularly concerned with pathogenesis. Instead of covering all times and places, the author has selected a number of key figures. Apollo, Asclepius, and Hippocrates stand for the path "from religion to science." Galen, with his doctrine