The encounter between literature and medicine - From theory to practice

Khaled Karkabi, Lea Ungar, Michael Kaffman, Orit Cohen Castel, Yaron Bar-El

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The relationship between literature and medicine has existed from Ancient Greece to the 19□th□ century. However, in the last two centuries, the scientific achievements in medicine, along with the dominance of the biological model in medical education, have weakened this relationship. In the last quarter of the 20th century "Literature and Medicine" has made a comeback in an effort to restore the humanistic component to medical education. "Literature and Medicine" is a subdiscipline of literary studies and a part of "medical humanities". It focuses on issues such as the physician, the patient, doctor-patient communication, empathy, ethics and life perspective. The growing interest in "Literature and Medicine" is evident not only in undergraduate medical education, but also in many publications in medical journals, and in the increasing number of literature and medicine groups for health care professionals. A "Literature and Medicine" group for physicians and other health care providers has been active for 4 years in the Faculty of Medicine at the Technion in Haifa. So far, the group has read and discussed about thirty literary works. The participants stress how this activity enhances exposure to literature, generates a commitment to reading and leads to a better understanding of literary texts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-353
Number of pages4
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Contribution
  • Literature and medicine
  • Medical education
  • Reading and discussion group

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (all)


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