Lost in translation: the history of the Ebers Papyrus and Dr. Carl H. von Klein





Ancient Egyptian medicine, Ebers Papyrus, Carl H. von Klein, translation


While the Ebers Papyrus is understood to be one of the oldest and most complete contemporaneous perspectives on Ancient Egyptian healing practices, nothing has yet been said about the biography of its first English-language translator, Dr. Carl H. von Klein. A German immigrant and surgeon in the American Midwest, von Klein spent twenty-some years meticulously translating and annotating the Papyrus, but ultimately his manuscript was destroyed. In this paper, we examine the societal- and personal-scale forces that thwarted his efforts to transform our understanding of the history of medicine.


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