Northern Centre for the History of Medicine and Medical Humanities

Philip van der Eijk

Alexander von Humboldt Professor of Classics and History of Science
Humboldt-Universit├Ąt zu Berlin




Philip van der Eijk is Strategic Research Adviser and Visiting Research Professor of Greek at Newcastle University. He was born in Delft, the Netherlands, and read Classics at Leiden University, where he received his doctorate in 1991 and where he held a Postdoctoral Fellowship funded by the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO) from 1991 to 1994. In 1994, he moved to Newcastle University to take up a Wellcome Trust University Award in the History of Medicine in the Classical World. At Newcastle, he was appointed (Personal) Professor of Greek in 1998, and Research Professor of Greek in 2005. With colleagues from Newcastle and Durham, he founded the Northern Centre for the History of Medicine in 2003, of which he was a Director until 2009. As of January 2010, he is Alexander von Humboldt Professor of Classics and History of Science at the Humboldt University in Berlin.

Roles and responsibilities

At Newcastle, Philip van der Eijk is involved in the activities of the Northern Centre for the History of Medicine. He directs the Wellcome Trust funded projects 'Towards a Galen in English' (see  ) and 'Accessing Ancient Medicine'.


  • General Editor of Cambridge Galen Translations (CUP)
  • Editorial Board of Studies in Ancient Medicine (Brill)
  • Editorial Board of Medical History
  • Editorial Board of Collana Pleiadi
  • Advisory Board of the Project "Galen als Vermittler, Interpret und Vollender der antiken Medizin", Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften
  • Advisory Board of the project Commentaria in Aristotelem Graeca et Byzantina, Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften
  • Advisory Board of the project Die alexandrinische und antiochenische Bibelexegese in der Spätantike, Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften
  • Member of the 'Vorstand' of the Excellence Cluster TOPOI - Concepts of Space and Knowledge in the Ancient World, Berlin
  • Member of the Committee 'Grundlagenforschung der alten Welt', Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften
  • Editorial Board of Aristoteles in Nederlandse vertaling (Historische Uitgeverij)
  • Classical Association
  • Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies
  • Society for the Social History of Medicine
  • European Association for the History of Medicine

Honours and awards

  • Member of the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften (2012–)
  • Correspondant Étranger de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, Institut de France (2011–)
  • Alexander von Humboldt Professorship at the Humboldt Universitaet zu Berlin, 2009–
  • Visiting Fellowship at All Souls College, Oxford, 2009
  • Corresponding member of the Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences) (2006–)
  • Membership of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, 2006
  • Ausonius Prize for outstanding achievement in Classical scholarship (University of Trier), 2006
  • Fellowship at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS), 2000-2001
  • Wellcome Trust University Award in the History of Medicine in the Classical World, 1994-1999
  • Research Fellowship of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), 1991-1994 


Research Interests

Ancient Medicine and Science, esp. the Hippocratic writings, Diocles of Carystus, Aristotle and the Aristotelian tradition, Galen and ancient Methodism; the history of medical historiography and the construction of canons; the communication and dissemination of medical ideas in antiquity; the comparative history of medicine in the Eastern Mediterranean; the history of melancholy and mental illness.

Main publications:

Medicine and Philosophy in Classical Antiquity. Doctors and Philosophers on Nature, Soul, Health and Disease, (Cambridge: CUP, 2005)
Diocles of Carystus. A Collection of the Fragments with Translation and Commentary, 2 Vols. (Leiden: Brill, 2000-1)
Ancient Histories of Medicine. Essays in Medical Doxography and Historiography in Classical Antiquity (Leiden: Brill, 1999)
Hippocrates in Context (Leiden: Brill, 2005)
Ancient Medicine in its Socio-Cultural Context (with H.F.J. Horstmanshoff and P.H. Schrijvers, 2 Vols. (Amsterdam-Atlanta: Rodopi, 1995)


Ancient Philosophy, in particular Aristotelian philosophy and Neoplatonism; philosophy of mind; philosophical theology; ethics.

Main publications:

Philoponus On Aristotle On the Soul 1.1-2 and 1.3-5, 2 Vols. (London: Duckworth, 2005-6)
Aristoteles. De insomniis. De divinatione per somnum (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1994)


Early Christian Literature and Thought, especially Nemesius of Emesa and Origen

Main publication:

Nemesius of Emesa. On the Nature of Man (with R.W. Sharples), (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2008)

Comparative Literature, especially German literature of the late 19th and early 20th century.

Main publications:

Translations (with introductory essays and notes) of Rainer Maria Rilke, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Georg Trakl, Gottfried Benn and Novalis.

Current work

  • Aristotle, Aristotelianism and Medical History
  • The Rhetoric of Ancient Scientific Discourse
  • Cambridge Galen Translations
  • Historiography and Canonisation in Ancient Science
  • Ancient Concepts of Mental Health and Mental Illness
  • Accessing Ancient Medicine

Project links

  • Towards a Galen in English (Wellcome Trust funded)
  • Accessing Ancient Medicine (Wellcome Trust funded)



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