The Way and the Word


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Science and Medicine in Early China and Greece

Geoffrey Lloyd and Nathan Sivin

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The rich civilizations of ancient China and Greece built sciences of comparable sophistication—each based on different foundations of concept, method, and organization. In this engrossing book, two world-renowned scholars compare the cosmology, science, and medicine of China and Greece between 400 B.C. and A.D. 200, casting new light not only on the two civilizations but also on the evolving character of science.

Sir Geoffrey Lloyd and Nathan Sivin investigate the differences between the thinkers in the two civilizations: what motivated them, how they understood the cosmos and the human body, how they were educated, how they made a living, and whom they argued with and why. The authors’ new method integrally compares social, political, and intellectual patterns and connections, demonstrating how all affected and were affected by ideas about cosmology and the physical world. They relate conceptual differences in China and Greece to the diverse ways that intellectuals in the two civilizations earned their living, interacted with fellow inquirers, and were involved with structures of authority.

By A.D. 200 the distinctive scientific strengths of both China and Greece showed equal potential for theory and practice. Lloyd and Sivin argue that modern science evolved not out of the Greek tradition alone but from the strengths of China, Greece, India, Islam, and other civilizations, which converged first in the Muslim world and then in Renaissance Europe.

Sir Geoffrey Lloyd is emeritus professor of ancient philosophy and science at the University of Cambridge. Nathan Sivin is professor of Chinese culture and the history of science at the University of Pennsylvania.

“A climactic statement from two distinguished savants engaging in an unprecedented collaborative effort in probing the rich but complex civilizations of ancient Greece and China.”—Anthony C. Yu, University of Chicago

“A monumental book that could bring about a new view of the history of science.”—Lisa Raphals, University of California, Riverside

“Until I read this book, my own picture of the astounding achievements of Chinese thinkers and doctors was granular, staccato, disjointed, with no overview of the Chinese world. I strongly recommend the book. It will greatly enlarge our understanding of the world we live in.”—O. Theodor Benfey, Chemical Heritage

“Geoffrey Lloyd and Nathan Sivin have written a stimulating, learned, and important book. . . . [Their] scholarship is meticulous and learned . . . the empirical data upon which they build their arguments are rich and varied, and their analyses are nuanced. The book’s organization is elegant and clear. . . . The Way and the Word is a major work of original scholarship by two masters of the field and a very successful effort at the difficult and laudable—and, for Sino-Hellenic comparative studies, indeed often necessary—art of scholarly collaboration.”—Steven Shankman, China Review International

“Lloyd & Sivin delve briskly into their explorations of how knowledge of the natural world was acquired, propagated, and deployed in each of the two cultures. . . . A brilliantly executed study of the investigation of the natural environment in early China and Greece. At once engaging and packed with distilled scholarship, it is a model that I hope will be much emulated.”—Bridie Andrews, Science

ISBN: 9780300092974
Publication Date: October 11, 2002
368 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4