A Lawyer’s Guide to Parallel Transformations in the Hippocratic Oath and the Medical Profession

50 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2024

Date Written: March 9, 2024

Abstract

By name, the Hippocratic Oath is one of the most recognizable texts in medicine, but non-physician readers may be surprised to learn that it is not a static document. Instead, the original, ancient Greek text attributed to Hippocrates has undergone numerous transformations, ranging from translations and simple modifications to major efforts to revise or reformulate the oath in line with changing times. This Article reviews the Hippocratic Oath’s functions, history, and modernizing revisions, including a recent trend of personalized, student-written alternative oaths. It asserts that the resulting record of changes becomes a uniquely valuable tool for non-physician researchers, reflecting how the profession sees itself, how the profession has evolved, and what challenges it faces in the 21st century.

Keywords: Hippocrates, medicine, oath, Ancient Greece, medical profession

Suggested Citation

Suuberg, Alessandra, A Lawyer’s Guide to Parallel Transformations in the Hippocratic Oath and the Medical Profession (March 9, 2024). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4813969 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4813969

Alessandra Suuberg (Contact Author)

Decency LLC

398 Columbus Ave
#313
Boston, MA 02116

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