Medical Polemics: Isaac Cardoso's Las Excelencias de los Hebreos

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p. 346, including a passage on haemorrhoids
[Amsterdam : Impresso en casa de David de Castro Tartas, 1679]

Isaac Cardoso (b. 1603 or 1604-d. 1683), whose parents were marranos, studied medicine, philosophy, and natural sciences at Salamanca and became chief physician (physico mor) in Madrid. In 1635 he left Spain and went to Venice where he changed his Christian name to “Isaac”. In his work Las Excelencias de los Hebreos he refutes many “calunias” (calumnies) brought against Jews; viz., the claim that Jewish males menstruated by means of haemorrhoids. Cardoso does this by telling an autobiographical anecdote. The Spanish physician Juan de Quiñones de Benavente who had claimed that Jewish men are subject to menstrual periods, had been his patient while he was chief physician in Madrid. Cardoso reports, “Within a very short time he developed haemorrhoids in certain parts, so great and huge, and accompanied by blood and pain, that they actually seem tail-like. In the company of a surgeon I then said to him: ‘Your honour must also be liable in the sin of that death [i. e. of Christ], for we see in you the same affliction, and just as you have written that the Jews have a tail and blood, you too have the same’.”

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Medical Polemics: Isaac Cardoso's Las Excelencias de los Hebreos

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